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The Influence of Jesus on 

The Moral Life of Man 
The Influence of Jesus on 

The Social Life of Man 
The Influence of Jesus on 

The Emotional Life of Man 
The Influence of Jesus on 

The Intellectual Life of Man 

Expository Times. " The Influence of 
Jesus is theologically the most characteristic 
of all Bishop Brooks s works. Mr Allenson 
has given us a new and attractive edition." 

Baptist Magazine. " The purpose of the 
book is established with an irresistible force of 
logic and a wealth of choice illustration. The 
re-issue of the book is altogether timely." 

The Aberdeen Journal. "These lectures 
appeal with a living force that marks them out 
as a possession for all time. From the theo 
logical point of view this volume contains 
the very best of Bishop Brooks s work, and 
modern theologians and preachers ovre the 
publishers a deep debt of gratitude for this 
new, attractive and cheap edition of a most 
instructive and thought-compelling book." 

The Guardian. "Messrs Allenson are to 
be thanked for a new edition which strikes us 
as pretty nearly the exact form in which a 
religious classic should appear, that is to say, 
printed in clean-cut type on good paper, with 
ample margins. These lectures, delivered 
twenty-eight years ago, are as well worth 
reading as ever, and a better means of making 
acquaintance with them than is afforded by 
this issue will not easily be found." 







S>fv>fnft2 Scbool of 3ale College 





42 1 1 



From the Records of the Corporation of Ynle Collect, 
April 12, 1871.] 

" Voted, to accept the offer of Mr. HENRY N. SAGE, of Brook 
lyn, of the sum of ten thousand dollars, for the founding of a 
lectureship in the Theological Department, in a branch of Pastoral 
Theology, to be designated The Lyman Beecher Lectureship on 
Preaching, to be filled from time to time, upon the appointment 
of the Corporation, by a minister of the Gospel, of any evangelical 
denomination, who has been markedly successful in the special 
work of the Christian ministry." 


Printed in Great Britain 
by Turntull &* Shears, Edinburgh 












OINCE I received, some months ago, the invitation 
^ to deliver these lectures which I begin to-day, I 
have been led to ponder much upoi the principles by 
which I have only half consciously been living and 
working for many years. This is j.,rt of the debt 
which I owe to those who have honored me with their 
invitation. It is interesting to one s self to examine 
and recognize and arrange the ideas which have been 
slowly taking shape within him during the busy years 
of work. I shall be very glad if you too are inter 
ested, as I try to recount them to you, and very thank 
ful if you find in them any help or inspiration. 

The personal character of this lectureship is very 
evident. It is always to be filled by preachers in act 
ive work, who are to come and speak to you of preach 
ing. It is not a Homiletical Professorship. It is each 
man s own life in the ministry of which he is to tell 


But certainly you do not expect from your successive 
lecturers a series of anecdotes of what has happened 
to them in their ministry, nor a mere recital of their 
ways of working. It cannot be intended that this 
lectureship should exalt the interviewer into an or 
ganized and permanent institution. The hope must 
rather be that as each preacher speaks of our common 
work in his own way, whatever there may be of value 
in his personal experience may come, not directly but 
indirectly, into what he says, and make the privilege 
of preaching shine for the moment in your eyes with 
the same kind of light which it has won in his. 

I feel as I begin something of the fear which I 
have often felt in commencing a new sermon. It has 
often seemed to me as if the vast amount of preach 
ing which people hear must have one bad effect, in 
leaving on their minds a vague impression that this 
Christian life to which they are so continually urged 
must be a very difficult and complicated thing that it 
should take such a multitude of definitions to make it 
clear. And so there is some danger lest these multi 
plied lectures upon preaching should give to those 
who are preparing to preach an uncomfortable feeling 
that the work of preaching is a thing of many rules, 
hard to understand, and needing a great deal of com 
mentary. For my part, I am startled when I think 
how few and simple are the things which I have to 
say to you. The principles which one can recognize 


in his ministry are very broad and plain. The appli 
cations of those principles are endless ; but I should 
be very sorry indeed if anything that I shall say 
should lead any of you to confound the few plain 
principles with their many varied applications, and so 
make you think that work complicated and difficult 
which to him who is equipped for it, and loves it, is 
the easiest and simplest work in life. 

Let me say one word more in introduction. He 
who is called upon to give these lectures cannot but 
remember that they are given every year, and that he 
has had very able and faithful predecessors. There 
are certainly, therefore, some things which he may 
venture to omit without being supposed to be either 
ignorant or careless of them. There are certain first 
principles, of primary importance, which he may take 
for granted in all that he says. They are so funda 
mental, that they must be always present, and their 
power must pervade every treatment of the work 
which is built upon them. But they need not be de 
liberately stated anew each year. It would make 
these courses of lectures very monotonous ; and one 
may venture to assume that there are some elemen 
tary principles upon whose truth all students of the 
ology are agreed, and whose importance they all feel. 

I cannot begin, then, to speak to you who are pre 
paring for the work of preaching, without congratu- 


lating you most earnestly upon the prospect that lies 
before you. I cannot help bearing witness to the 
joy of the life which you anticipate. There is no 
career that can compare with it for a moment in the 
rich and satisfying relations into which it brings a 
man with his fellow-men, in the deep and interesting 
insight which it gives him into human nature, and in 
the chance of the best culture for his own character. 
Its delight never grows old, its interest never wanes, 
its stimulus is never exhausted. It is different to a 
man at each period of his life ; but if he is the minis 
ter he ought to be, there is no age, from the earliest 
years when he is his people s brother to the late days 
when he is like a father to the children on whom he 
looks down from the pulpit, in which the ministry 
has not some fresh charm and chance of usefulness to 
offer to the man whose heart is in it. Let us never 
think of it in any other way than this. Let us rejoice 
with one another that in a world where there are a 
great many good and happy things for men to do, 
God has given us the best and happiest, and made us 
preachers of His Truth. 

I propose in this introductory lecture to lay before 
you some thoughts which cover the whole field which 
we shall have to traverse ; and the lectures which fol 
low will be mainly applications and illustrations of 
the principles which I lay down to-day. It may make 


my first lecture seem a little too general, but perhaps 
it will help us to understand each other better as we 
go on. 

What, then, is preaching, of which we are to speak ? 
It is not hard to find a definition. Preaching is the 
communication of truth by man to men. It has in it 
two essential elements, truth and personality. Neither 
of those can it spare and still be preaching. The 
truest truth, the most authoritative statement of God s 
will, communicated in any other way than through 
the personality of brother man to men is not preached 
truth. Suppose it written on the sky, suppose it em 
bodied in a book which has been so long held in rev 
erence as the direct utterance of God that the vivid 
personality of the men who wrote its pages has well- 
nigh faded out of it ; in neither of these cases is there 
any preaching. And on the other hand, if men speak 
to other men that which they do not claim for truth, 
if they use their powers of persuasion or of entertain 
ment to make other men listen to their speculations, 
or do their will, or applaud their cleverness, that is not 
preaching either. The first lacks personality. The 
second lacks truth. And preaching is the bringing 
of truth through personality. It must have b^th ele 
ments. It is in the different proportion in which the 
two are mingled that the difference between two great 
classes of sermons and preaching lies. It is in the 
defect of one or the other element that every sermon 


and preacher falls short of the perfect standard. It 
is in the absence of one or the other element that a 
discourse ceases to be a sermon, and a man ceases to 
be a preacher altogether. 

If we go back to the beginning of the Christian 
ministry we can see how distinctly and deliberately 
Jesus chose this method of extending the knowledge 
of Himself throughout the world. Other methods no 
doubt were open to Him, but He deliberately selected 
this. He taught His truth to a few men and then 
He said, " Now go and tell that truth to other men." 
Both elements were there, in John the Baptist who 
prepared the way for Him, in the seventy whom He 
sent out before His face, and in the little company 
who started from the chamber of the Pentecost to 
proclaim the new salvation to the world. If He gave 
them the power of working miracles, the miracles 
themselves were not the final purpose for which He 
gave it. The power of miracle was, as it were, a 
divine fire pervading the Apostle s being and opening 
his individuality on either side ; making it more open 
God-wards by the sense of awful privilege, making it 
more open man-wards by the impressiveness and the 
helpfulness with which it was clothed. Everything 
that was peculiar in Christ s treatment of those men 
was merely part of the process by which the Master 
prepared their personality to be a fit medium for the 
communication of His Word. When His treatment 


of them was complete, they stood fused like glass, and 
able to take God s truth in perfectly on one side and 
send it out perfectly on the other side of their trans 
parent natures. 

This was the method by which Christ chose that 
His Gospel should be spread through the world. It 
was a method that might have been applied to the 
dissemination of any truth, but we can see why it was 
especially adapted to the truth of Christianity. For 
that truth is preeminently personal. However the 
Gospel may be capable of statement in dogmatic form, 
its truest statement we know is not in dogma but 
in personal life. Christianity is Christ ; and we can 
easily understand how a truth which is of such pecul 
iar character that a person can stand forth and say 
of it, " I am the Truth," must always be best conveyed 
through, must indeed be almost incapable of being 
perfectly conveyed except through personality. And 
so some form of preaching must be essential to the 
prevalence and spread of the knowledge of Christ 
among men. There seems to be some such meaning 
as this in the words of Jesus when He said to His 
disciples, " As My Father has sent Me into the world, 
even so have I sent you into the world." It was 
the continuation, out to the minutest ramifications of 
the new system of influence, of that personal method 
which the Incarnation itself had involved. 

If this be true, then, it establishes the first of all 


principles concerning the ministry and preparation 
for the ministry. Truth through Personality is our 
description of real preaching. The truth must come 
really through the person, not merely over his lips, 
not merely into his understanding and out through 
his pen. It must come through his character, his 
affections, his whole intellectual and moral being. It 
must come genuinely through him. I think that, 
granting equal intelligence and study, here is the 
great difference which we feel between two preachers 
of the Word. The Gospel has come over one of them 
and reaches us tinged and flavored with his superficial 
characteristics, belittled with his littleness. The Gos 
pel has come through the other, and we receive it 
impressed and winged with all the earnestness and 
strength that there is in him. In the first case the 
man has been but a printing machine or a trumpet. 
In the other case he has been a true man and a real 
messenger of God. We know how the views which 
theologians have taken of the agency of the Bible 
writers in their work differ just here. There have 
been those who would make them mere passive in 
struments. The thought of our own time has more 
and more tended to consider them the active messen 
gers of the Word of God. This is the higher thought 
of inspiration. And this is the only true thought of 
the Christian preachership. I think that one of the 
most perplexing points in a man s ministry is in a cer- 


tain variation of this power of transmission. Some 
times you are all open on both sides, open to God and 
to fellow-man. At other times something clogs and 
clouds your transparency. You will know the differ 
ences of the sermons which you preach in those two 
conditions, and, however little they describe it to 
themselves or know its causes, your congregation 
will feel the difference full well. 

But this, as I began to say, decrees for us in general 
what the preparation for the ministry is. It must be 
nothing less than the making of a man. It cannot 
be the mere training to certain tricks. It cannot be 
even the furnishing with abundant knowledge. It 
must be nothing less than the kneading and temper< 
ing of a man s whole nature till it becomes of such a 
consistency and quality as to be capable of transmis 
sion. This is the largeness of the preacher s culture. 
It is not for me, standing here or anywhere, to depre 
ciate the work which our theological schools do. It 
certainly is not my place to undervalue the usefulness 
of lectures on preaching, or books on clerical manners. 
But none of these things make the preacher. You 
are surprised, when you read the biographies of the 
most successful ministers, to see how small a part of 
their culture came from their professional schools. It 
is a real part, but it is a small part. Everything that 
opens their lives towards God and towards man makes 
part of their education. The professional schools 


furnish them. The whole world is the school that 
makes them. This is the value of the biographies of 
the great preachers if we can only read them largely 
enough, if we can read them not in a small desire to 
copy their details of living, but in a large sympathetic 
wish to know what their life was, to see how the men 
became the men they were. This is the value of Bax 
ter s story of himself, so unsuspiciously confident of 
the reader s interest in everything that concerns him, 
or of Eobertson s painful but precious history, or of 
the strong, manly, constantly advancing life of Nor 
man Macleod. I think that either of these books 
might be the ruin of a young minister who read it for 
the methods of his work, as either of them might be 
the making of him if he read it for the spirit and the 
spiritual history of the man of whom it told the story. 
In a time which abounds in biographies as ours does, 
especially in the biographies of preachers, it is worth 
while, I am sure, to remember that another man s life 
may be the noblest inspiration or the heaviest bur 
den, according as we take its spirit into our spirit, 
or only bind its methods like a fagot of dry sticks 
upon our back. 

One other consequence of the fundamental char 
acter of preaching which I have stated must be the 
perpetual function of the pulpit. Every now and 
then we hear some speculations about the prospects 


of preaching. Will men continue to preach and will 
other men continue to go and hear them ? Books are 
multiplying enormously, Any man may feel reason 
ably sure on any Sunday morning that in a book which 
he can choose from his shelf he can read something 
more wisely thought and more perfectly expressed 
than he will hear from the pulpit if he goes to church. 
Why should he go ? One answer to the question cer 
tainly would be in the assertion that preaching is only 
one of the functions of the Christian Church, and that, 
even if preaching should grow obsolete, there would 
still remain reason enough why Christians should 
meet together for worship and for brotherhood. But 
even if we look at preaching only, it must still be 
true that nothing can ever take its place because of 
the personal element that is in it. No multiplication 
of books can ever supersede the human voice. No 
newly opened channel of approach to man s mind and 
heart can ever do away with man s readiness to re 
ceive impressions through his fellow-man. There is 
no evidence, I think, in all the absorption in books 
which characterizes our much reading age, of any 
real decline of the interest in preaching. Let a man 
be a true preacher, really uttering the truth through 
his own personality, and it is strange how men will 
gather to listen to him. We hear that the day of the 
pulpit is past, and then some morning the voice of a 


true preacher is heard in the land and all the streets 
are full of men crowding to hear him, just exactly as 
were the streets of Constantinople when Chrysostom 
was going to preach at the Church of the Apostles, or 
the streets of London when Latimer was bravely tell 
ing his truth at St. Paul s. 

The same is true of reading sermons. I think, as 
I shall have occasion to say more fully in some other 
lecture, that a sermon that has the true sermon qual 
ity in it, when it is made, preserves that quality even 
under the constraints of manuscript or print. And 
books of sermons which really bring the truth through 
personality to men, were never bought and read more 
largely than they are to-day. 

No ; the truth about this matter of the competition 
of the printed book with the preached sermon, seems 
to be what is true of every competition. It has led 
to more discrimination. There were things which 
people went to hear once but which they will not go to 
hear to-day. They can read better things of the same 
sort at home. But those things are not sermons. 
They never were sermons. The competition of print 
has interfered very much, is destined to interfere 
much more, we may hope will not cease to interfere 
till it has caused it to disappear, with the " pulpit 
droning of old saws," with the monotonous reitera 
tion of commonplaces and abstractions ; but the true 


sermon, the utterance of living truth by living men, 
was never more powerful than it is to-day. People 
never came to it with more earnestness, or carried 
away from it more good results. 

I cannot help begging you, in the ministry which 
is before you, to beware of excusing your own failures 
by foolish talk about the obstinate aversion which the 
age has to the preaching of the Gospel. It is the 
meanest and shallowest kind of excuse. The age has 
no aversion to preaching as such. It may not listen 
to your preaching. If that prove to be the case, look 
for the fault first in your preaching, and not in the 
age. I wonder at the eagerness and patience of con 
gregations. I think that there are two things which 
we ministers have to guard against in this matter : 
one, the tendency of which I have just spoken, to 
blame the impatience which men feel with false pre 
tences of preaching, for the lack of success which our 
preaching brings ; the other, an exactly opposite tend 
ency, to trust so confidently to the much tried pa 
tience of the people, that we shall do our work care 
lessly from feeling too secure about our power. He 
who escapes both of these dangers, he who feels the 
magnitude and privilege of his work, he who both 
respects and trusts his people, neither assuming their 
indifference, so that he is paralysed, nor assuming their 
interest, so that he grows careless, that man, I think, 


need envy no one of the preachers of the ages that 
are past the pulpit in which he stood, or the congre 
gation to which he preached. 

Let us look now for a few moments at these two 
elements of preaching Truth and Personality ; the 
one universal and invariable, the other special and 
always different. There are a few suggestions that 
I should like to make to you about each. 

And first with regard to the Truth. It is strange how 
impossible it is to separate it and consider it wholly 
by itself. The personalness will cling to it. There 
are two aspects of the minister s work, which we are 
constantly meeting in the New Testament. They are 
really embodied in two words, one of which is " mes 
sage," and the other is " witness." " This is the message 
which we have heard of Him and declare unto you," 
says St. John in his first Epistle. " We are His wit 
nesses of these things," says St. Peter before the Coun 
cil at Jerusalem. In these two words together, I think, 
we have the fundamental conception of the matter of 
all Christian preaching. It is to be a message given 
to us for transmission, but yet a message which we 
cannot transmit until it has entered into our own ex 
perience, and we can give our own testimony of its 
spiritual power. The minister who keeps the word 
" message " always written before him, as he prepares 
his sermon in his study, or utters it from his pulpit, 
is saved from the tendency to wanton and wild specu- 


lation, and from the mere passion of originality. He 
who never forgets that word " witness," is saved from 
the unreality of repeating by rote mere forms of state 
ment which he has learned as orthodox, but never 
realized as true. If you and I can always carry this 
double consciousness, that we are messengers, and 
that we are witnesses, we shall have in our preaching 
all the authority and independence of assured truth, 
and yet all the appeal and convincingness of personal 
belief. It will not be we that speak, but the spirit of 
our Father that speaketh in us, and yet our souship 
shall give the Father s voice its utterance and inter 
pretation to His other children. 

I think that nothing is more needed to correct the 
peculiar vices of preaching which belong to our time, 
than a new prevalence among preachers of this first 
conception of the truth which they have to tell as 
a message. I am sure that one great source of the 
weakness of the pulpit is the feeling among the 
people that these men who stand up before them every 
Sunday have been making up trains of thought, and 
thinking how they should " treat their subject," as the 
phrase runs. There is the first ground of the vicious 
habit that our congregations have of talking about 
the preacher more than they think about the truth. 
The minstrel who sings before you to show his skill, 
will be praised for his wit, and rhymes, and voice. 
But the courier who hurries in, breathless, to bring 


you a message, will be forgotten in the message that 
he brings. Among the many sermons I have heard, I 
always remember one, for the wonderful way in which 
it was pervaded by this quality It was a sermon by 
Mr. George Macdonald, the English author, who was 
in this country a few years ago ; and it had many of 
the good and bad characteristics of his interesting 
style. It had his brave and manly honesty, and his 
tendency to sentimentality. But over and through it 
all it had this quality : it was a message from God to 
these people by him. The man struggled with lan 
guage as a child struggles with his imperfectly mas 
tered tongue, that will not tell the errand as he re 
ceived it, and has it in his mind. As I listened, I 
seemed to see how weak in contrast was the way in 
which other preachers had amused me and challenged 
my admiration for the working of their minds. Here 
was a gospel. Here were real tidings. And you lis 
tened and forgot the preacher. 

Whatever else you count yourself in the ministry, 
never lose this fundamental idea of yourself as a mes 
senger. As to the way in which one shall best keep 
that idea, it would not be hard to state ; but it would 
involve the whole story of the Christian life. Here 
is the primary necessity that the Christian preacher 
should be a Christian first, that he should be deeply 
cognizant of God s authority, and of the absoluteness 
of Christ s truth. That was one of the first principles 


which I ventured to assume as I began my lecture. 
But without entering so wide a field, let me say one 
thing about this conception of preaching as the telling 
of a message which constantly impresses me. I think 
that it would give to our pleaching just the quality 
which it appears to me to most lack now. That qual 
ity is breadth. I do not mean liberality of thought, 
nor tolerance of opinion, nor anything of that kind. 
I mean largeness of movement, the great utterance 
of great truths, the great enforcement of great duties, 
as distinct from the minute, and subtle, and ingenious 
treatment of little topics, side issues of the soul s life, 
bits of anatomy, the bric-a-brac of theology. Take 
up, some Saturday, the list of subjects on which the 
ministers of a great city are to preach the next day. 
See. how many of them seem to have searched in 
strange corners of the Bible for their topics, how 
small and fantastic is the bit of truth which their 
hearers are to have set before them. Then turn to 
Barrow, or Tillotson, or Bushnell "Of being imitators 
of Christ ; " " That God is the only happiness of man ; " 
" Every man s life a plan of God." There is a paint 
ing of ivory miniatures, and there is a painting of 
great frescoes. One kind of art is suited to one kind 
of subject, and another to another. I suppose that 
all preachers pass through some fantastic period when 
a strange text fascinates them ; when they like to find 
what can be said for an hour on some little topic on 


which most men could only talk two minutes ; when 
they are eager for subtlety more than force, and for 
originality more than truth. But as a preacher grows 
more full of the conception of the sermon as a mes 
sage, he gets clear of those brambles. He comes out 
on to open ground. His work grows freer, and bolder, 
and broader. He loves the simplest texts, and the 
great truths which run like rivers through all life. 
God s sovereignty, Christ s redemption, man s hope in 
the Spirit, the privilege of duty, the love of man in 
the Saviour, make the strong music which his soul 
tries to catch. 

And then another result of this conception of preach 
ing as the telling of a message is that it puts us into 
right relations with all historic Christianity. The 
message never can be told as if we were the first to 
tell it. It is the same message which the Church has 
told in all the ages. He who tells it to-day is backed 
by all the multitude who have told it in the past. 
He is companied by all those who are telling it now. 
The message is his witness ; but a part of the assur 
ance with which he has received it, comes from the 
fact of its being the identical message which has come 
down from the beginning. Men find on both sides 
how difficult it is to preserve the true poise and pro 
portion between the corporate and the individual con 
ceptions of the Christian life. But all will own to-day 
the need of both. The identity of the Church in all 


times consists in the identity of the message which 
she has always had to carry from her Lord to men. 
All outward utterances of the perpetual identity of 
the Church are valuable only as they assert this real 
identity. There is the real meaning of the perpetua 
tion of old ceremonies, the use of ancient liturgies, 
and the clinging to what seem to be apostolic types 
of government. The heretic in all times has been not 
the errorist as such, but the self-willed man, whether 
his judgments were right or wrong. " A man may be 
a heretic in the truth," says Milton. He is the man 
who, taking his ideas not as a message from God, but 
as his own discoveries, has cut himself off from the 
message-bearing Church of all the ages. I am sure 
that the more fully you come to count your preaching 
the telling of a message, the more valuable and real 
the Church will become to you, the more true will 
seem to you your brotherhood with all messengers of 
that same message in all strange dresses and in all 
strange tongues. 

I should like to mention, with reference to the 
Truth which the preacher has to preach, two tenden 
cies which I am sure that you will recognise as very 
characteristic of our time. One is the tendency of 
criticism, and the other is the tendency of mechanism. 
Both tendencies are bad. By the tendency of criti 
cism I mean the disposition that prevails everywhere 
to deal with things from outside, discussing their re- 


lations, examining their nature, and not putting our 
selves into their power. Preaching in every age fol 
lows, to a certain extent, the changes which come to 
all literature and life. The age in which we live is 
strangely fond of criticism. It takes all things to 
pieces for the mere pleasure of examining their nature. 
It studies forces, not in order to obey them, but in order 
to understand them. It talks about things for the 
pure pleasure of discussion. Much of the poetry and 
prose about nature and her wonders, much of the in 
vestigation of the country s genius and institutions, 
much of the subtle analysis of human nature is of this 
sort. It is all good ; but it is something distinct from 
the cordial sympathy by which one becomes a willing 
servant of any of these powers, a real lover of nature, 
or a faithful citizen, or a true friend. Now it would 
be strange if this critical tendency did not take pos 
session of the preaching of the day. And it does. 
The disposition to watch ideas in their working, and 
to talk about their relations and their influence on 
one another, simply as problems, in which the mind 
may find pleasure without any real entrance of the 
soul into the ideas themselves, this, which is the criti 
cal tendency, invades the pulpit, and the result is an 
immense amount of preaching which must be called 
preaching about Christ as distinct from preaching 
Christ. There are many preachers who seem to do 
nothing else, always discussing Christianity as a 


problem instead of announcing Christianity as a 
message, and proclaiming Christ as a Saviour. I do 
not undervalue their discussions. But I think we 
ought always to feel that such discussions are not the 
type or ideal of preaching. They may be necessities 
of the time, but they are not the work which the great 
Apostolic preachers did, or which the true preacher 
will always most desire. Definers and defenders of 
the faith are always needed, but it is bad for a church 
when its ministers count it their true work to define 
and defend the faith rather than to preach the Gospel. 
Beware of the tendency to preach about Christianity, 
and try to preach Christ. To discuss the relations 
of Christianity and Science, Christianity and Society, 
Christianity and Politics, is good. To set Christ forth 
to men so that they shall know Him, and in gratitude 
and love become His, that is far better. It is good to 
be a Herschel who describes the sun ; but it is better to 
be a Prometheus who brings the sun s fire to the earth. 
I called the other tendency the tendency of mechan 
ism. It is the disposition of the preacher to forget 
that the Gospel of Christ is primarily addressed to in 
dividuals, and that its ultimate purpose is the salvation 
of multitudes of men. Between the time when it first 
speaks to a man s soul, and the time when that man s 
soul is gathered into heaven, with the whole host of 
the redeemed, the Gospel uses a great many machineries 
which are more or less impersonal The Church 


with all its instrumentalities, comes in. The preacher 
works by them. But if the preacher ever for a 
moment counts them the purpose of his working, if he 
takes his eye off the single soul as the prize he is to 
win, he falls from his highest function and loses his 
best power. All successful preaching, I more and 
more believe, talks to individuals. The Church is for 
the soul. I am not thinking of the fault or danger of 
any one body of Christians alone when I say this, not 
of my own or any other. The tendency to work for the 
means instead of for the end is everywhere. And, my 
friends, learn this at the beginning of your ministry, 
that just as surely as you think that any kind of fault 
or danger belongs wholly to another system than your 
own, and that you are not exposed to it, just so surely 
you will reproduce that fault or danger in some form 
in your own life. This surely is a good rule : when 
ever you see a fault in any other man, or any other 
church, look for it in yourself and in your own church. 
Where is the church which is not liable to value its 
machineries above its purposes, whose ministers are 
not tempted to preach for the denomination and its 
precious peculiarities, instead of for men and for their 
precious souls ? Let your preaching be to individuals, 
and to the Church always as living for and made up 
of individuals. 

Of the second element in preaching, namely, the 
preacher s personality, there will be a great deal to 


say, especially in the next lecture. But there are 
two or three fundamental things which I wish to say 

The first is this, that the principle of personality 
once admitted involves the individuality of every 
preacher. The same considerations which make it 
good that the Gospel should not be written on the sky, 
or committed merely to an almost impersonal book, 
make it also most desirable that every preacher should 
utter the truth in his own way, and according to his 
own nature. It must come not only through man but 
through men. If you monotonize men you lose their 
human power to a large degree. If you could make 
all men think alike it would be very much as if no 
man thought at all, as when the whole earth moves 
together with all that is upon it, everything seems 
still. Now the deep sense of the solemnity of the 
minister s work has often a tendency to repress the 
free individuality of the preacher and his tolerance of 
other preachers individualities. His own way of doing 
his work is with him a matter of conscience, not of 
taste, and the conscience when it is thoroughly awake 
is more intolerant than the taste is. Or, working just 
the other way, his conscience tells him that it is not 
for him to let his personal peculiarities intrude in such 
a solemn work, and so he tries to bind himself to the 
ways of working which the most successful preachers 
of the Word have followed. I have seen both these 
kinds of ministers : those whose consciences made 


them obstinate, and those whose consciences made 
them pliable ; those whose consciences hardened them 
to steel or softened them to wax. However it comes 
about, there is an unmistakable tendency to the 
repression of the individuality of the preacher. It is 
seen in little things : in the uniform which preachers 
wear and the disposition to a uniformity of language 
It is seen in great things : in the disposition which 
all ages have witnessed to draw a line of orthodoxy 
inside the lines of truth. Wisely and soberly let us 
set ourselves against this influence. The God who 
sent men to preach the Gospel of His Son in their 
humanity, sent each man distinctively to preach it 
in his humanity. Be yourself by all means, but let 
that good result come not by cultivating merely super 
ficial peculiarities and oddities. Let it be by winning 
a true self full of your own faith and your own 
love. The deep originality is noble, but the surface 
originality is miserable. It is so easy to be a John 
the Baptist, as far as the desert and camel s hair 
and locusts and wild honey go. But the devoted 
heart to speak from, and the fiery words to speak, 
are other things. 

Again, we never can forget in thinking of the 
preacher s personality that he is one who lives in con 
stant familiarity with thoughts and words which to 
other men are occasional and rare, and which preserve 
their sacredne^s mainly by their rarity. That fact 


must always come in when we try to estimate the in 
fluences of a preacher s life. What will the power of 
that fact be ? I am sure that often it weakens the 
minister. I am sure that many men who, if they 
came to preach once in a great while in the midst of 
other occupations, would preach with reality and fire, 
are deadened to their sacred work by their constant 
intercourse with sacred things. Their constant deal 
ing with the truth makes them less powerful to bear 
the truth to others, as a pipe through which the water 
always flows collects its sediment, and is less fit to let 
more water through. And besides this, it ministers 
to self-deception and to an exaggeration or distortion 
of our own history. The man who constantly talks of 
certain experiences, and urges other men to enter into 
them, must come in time, by very force of describing 
those experiences, to think that he has undergone 
them. You beg men to repent, and you grow so 
familiar with the whole theory of repentance that it 
is hard for you to know that you yourself have not 
repented. You exhort to patience till you have no 
eyes or ears for your own impatience. It is the way 
in which the man who starts the trains at the railroad 
station must come in time to feel as if he himself had 
been to all the towns along the road whose names he 
has always been shouting in the passengers ears, and 
to which he has for years sold them their tickets, when 
perhaps he has not left his own little way -station all 


the time. I know that all this is so, and yet certainly 
the fault is in the man, not in the truth. The remedy 
certainly is not to make the truth less familiar. There 
is a truer relation to preaching, in which the constancy 
of it shall help instead of harming the reality and 
earnestness with which you do it. The more that you 
urge other people to holiness the more intense may be 
the hungering and thirsting after holiness in your 
own heart. Familiarity does not breed contempt ex 
cept of contemptible things or in contemptible people. 
The adage, that no man is a hero to his valet de 
chambre, is sufficiently answered by saying that it is 
only to a valet de chambre that a truly great man is 
unheroic. You must get the impulse, the delight, 
and the growing sacredness of your life out of your 
familiar work. You are lost as a preacher if its 
familiarity deadens and encrusts, instead of vitaliz 
ing and opening your powers. And it will all depend 
upon whether you do your work for your Master and 
His people or for yourself. The last kind of labor 
slowly kills, the first gives life more and more. 

The real preparation of the preacher s personality 
for its transmissive work comes by the opening of 
his life on both sides, towards the truth of God and 
towards the needs of man. To apprehend in all their 
intensity the wants and woes of men, to see the prob 
lems and dangers of this life, then to know all through 
us that nothing but Christ and His Eedemption can 


thoroughly satisfy these wants, that is what makes a 
man a preacher. Alas for him who is only open on 
the man-ward side, who only knows how miserable 
and wicked man is, but has no power of God to bring 
to him ! He lays a kind but helpless hand upon the 
wound. He tries to relieve it with his sympathy and 
his philosophy. He is the source of all he says. There 
is no God behind him. He is no preacher. The 
preacher s instinct is that which feels instantly how 
Christ and human need belong together, neither thinks 
Christ too far off for the need, nor the need too in 
significant for Christ. Never be afraid to bring the 
transcendent mysteries of our faith, Christ s life and 
death and resurrection, to the help of the humblest 
and commonest of human wants. There is a sort of 
preaching which keeps them for the great emergen 
cies, and soothes the common sorrows and rebukes the 
common sins with lower considerations of economy. 
Such preaching fails. It neither appeals to the lower 
nor to the higher perceptions of mankind. It is 
useful neither as a law nor as a gospel. It is like a 
river that is frozen too hard to be navigable but not 
hard enough to bear. Never fear, as you preach, to 
bring the sublimest motive to the smallest duty, and 
the most infinite comfort to the smallest trouble. 
They will prove that they belong there if only the 
duty and trouble are real and you have read them 
thoroughly aright. 


These are the elements of preaching, then, Truth 

and Personality. The truth is in itself a fixed and 

stable element; the personality is a varying and 

growing element. In the union of the two we have 

the provision for the combination of identity with 

variety, of stability with growth, in the preaching of 

the Gospel. The truth which you are preaching is the 

same which your brother is preaching in the next 

pulpit, or in some missionary station on the other side 

of the globe. If it were not, you would get no strength 

from one another. You would not stand back to back 

against the enemy, sustaining one another, as you do 

now. But the way in which you preach the truth 

is different, and each of you reaches some ears that 

would be deaf to the most persuasive tones of the 

other. The Gospel you are preaching now is the 

same Gospel that you preached when you were first 

ordained, in that first sermon which it was at once 

such a terror and such a joy to preach ; but if you have 

been a live man all the time, you are not preaching it 

now as you did then. If the truth had changed, your 

life would have lost its unity. The truth has not 

changed, but you have grown to fuller understanding 

of it, to larger capacity of receiving and transmitting 

it. There is no pleasure in the minister s life stronger 

than this, the perception of identity and progress in 

his preaching of the truth as he grows older. It is 


like a man s pleasure in watching the growth of his 
own body or his own mind, or of a tree which he has 
planted. Always the same it is, yet always larger. 
It is a common experience of ministers, I suppose, to 
find that sentences in their old sermons which were 
written years ago contain meanings and views of truth 
which they hold now but which they never had thought 
of in those early days. The truth was there, but the 
man had not appropriated it. The truth has not 
changed, but the man is more sufficient for it. Here 
is the power by which the truth becomes related to 
each special age. It is brought to it through the men 
of the age. If a preacher is not a man of his age, in 
sympathy with its spirit, his preaching fails. He 
wonders that the truth has grown so powerless. But 
it is not the truth that has failed. It is the other 
element, the person. That is the reason why sometimes 
the old preacher finds his well-known power gone, and 
complains that while he is still in his vigor people 
are looking to younger men for the work which they 
once delighted to demand of him. There are noble 
examples on the other side: old men with a personality 
as vitally sympathetic with the changing age as the 
truth which they preach is true to the Word of God. 
They have a power which no young man can begin to 
wield, and the world owns it willingly. People would 
rather see old men than young men in their pulpits if 


only the old men bring them both elements of preach 
ing, a faith that is eternally true, and a person that is 
in quick and ready sympathy with their present life. 
If they can have but one, they are apt to choose the 
latter ; but what they really want is both, and the 
noblest ministries in the Church are those of old men 
who have kept the freshness of their youth. 

It is in the poise and proportion of these two ele 
ments of preaching that we secure the true relation 
between independence and adaptation in the preacher s 
character. The desire to meet the needs of the people 
to whom we preach may easily become servility. 
Many a man has lost his manliness and won people s 
contempt in a truly earnest desire to win their hearts 
for his great message. Here is where the stable and 
unchanging element of our work comes in. There is 
something that you owe to the truth and to yourself 
as its preacher. There is a line beyond which adapta 
tion becomes feebleness. There are some things which 
St. Paul will not become to any man. Nothing but 
this sense of the unchanging demands of the truth 
which we are sent to preach can keep us from giving 
our people what they want, instead of what they need. 
Keep a clear sense of what your truth requires of you. 
Count it unworthy of yourself as a minister of the Gos 
pel to comfort any sorrow with less than the Gospel s 
whole comfortableness, or to bid any soul be perfectly 


happy in anything less than the highest spiritual joy. 
The saddest moments in every preacher s life, I think, 
are those in which he goes away from his pulpit con 
scious that he has given the people, not the highest that 
he knew how to give, but only the highest that they 
knew how to ask. He has satisfied them, and he is 
thoroughly discontented with himself. When a friend 
of Alexander the Great had asked of him ten talents, 
he tendered to him fifty, and when reply was made 
that ten were sufficient, " True," said he, " ten are 
sufficient for you to take, but not for me to give." 

If it is the decay of the personal element that weakens 
the ministry of some old men, I think it is the slight 
ing of the element of absolute truth that degrades the 
work of preaching in many young men s eyes, and 
keeps such numbers of them, who ought to be there, 
from its sacred duties. The prevalence of doubt 
about all truth, and to some extent also the general 
eagerness of preachers to find out and meet the people s 
desires and demands, these two causes together have 
created the impression that the ministry had no cer 
tain purposes or definite message, that the preacher 
was a promiscuous caterer for men s whims, wishing 
them well, inspired by a certain general benevolence, 
but in no sense a prophet uttering positive truth to 
them which they did not know before, uttering it 
whether they liked it or hated it. Is not that the iru- 


pression which many young men have of the ministry ? 
Is it not natural that with that impression they should 
seek some other way to help their fellow-men ? And 
is there not very much indeed in the way in which 
preachers do their work to give such an impres 
sion ? Everywhere, for the strengthening of the weak 
preacher, the enlivening of the dull preacher, the 
sobering of the flippant preacher, the freshening of 
the old preacher, the maturing of the young preacher, 
what we need is the just poise and proportion of these 
two elements of the preacher s work, the truth he has 
to tell and the personality through which he has to 
tell it. 

The purpose of preaching must always be the first 
condition that decrees its character. The final cause 
is that which really shapes everything s life. And 
what is preaching for ? The answer comes without 
hesitation. It is for men s salvation. But the idea 
of what salvation is has never been entirely uniform 
or certain ; and all through the history of preaching 
we can see that the character of preaching varied 
continually, rose or fell, enlarged or narrowed, with 
the constant variation of men s ideas as to what it 
was to be saved. If salvation was something here 
and now, preaching became a direct appeal to man s 
present life. If salvation was something future and 


far away, preaching died into remote whispers and 
only made itself graphic and forcible by the vivid 
pictures of torture addressed to the senses whose pain 
men most easily understand. If to be saved was to 
be saved from sin, preaching became spiritual. If to 
be saved was to be saved from punishment, preaching 
became forensic and economical. If salvation was the 
elevation of society, preaching became a lecture upon 
social science. The first thing for you to do is to see 
clearly what you are going to preach for, what you 
mean to try to save men from. By your conviction 
about that, the whole quality of your ministry will be 
decided. To the absence of any clear answer to that 
question, to the entire vagueness as to what men s 
danger is, we owe the vagueness with which so many 
of our preachers preach. 

The world has not heard its best preaching yet. If 
there is more of God s truth for men to know, and if 
it is possible for the men who utter it to become more 
pure and godly, then, with both of its elements more 
complete than they have ever been before, preaching 
must some day be a completer power. But that better 
preaching will not come by any sudden leap of inspi 
ration. As the preaching of the present came from 
the preaching of the past, so the preaching that is to 
be will come from the preaching that is now. If we 


preach as honestly, as intelligently, and as spiritually 
as we can, we shall not merely do good in our own 
day, but help in some real though unrecorded way the 
future triumphs of the work we love. 


"II /TY last lecture indicated very clearly the impor 
tance which I think belongs to the preacher s 
person in the work to which he is ordained. In my 
second and third lectures I want to dwell upon this 
subject and consider distinctively the preacher. After 
that we will look at the sermon. And in considering 
the preacher, we may think of him first in himself and 
then in relation to his work. It is not a distinction 
that can be accurately and constantly maintained. 
The two views run together. But it will help me in 
making an arrangement of what I have to say ; and 
if we do not insist on it too strongly, it will aid our 
thoughts. To-day I take the first of these two topics, 
and shall speak of the preacher s personal character, 
the preacher in himself. 

Let us ask, then, first, What sort of man may be a 
minister ? It would be good for the Church if it were 
a more common question. Partly because the motives 

which lead a young man to the ministry are so per 


sonal and spiritual, partly because of our sense of the 
magnitude and privilege of the work, which makes us 
fear to be the means of excluding any worthy man 
from it, partly because, at present, while the harvest 
is so plenteous the laborers are so very few, for these 
and other reasons, there is far too little discrimination 
in the selection of men who are to preach, and many 
men find their way into the preacher s office who dis 
cover only too late that it is not their place. When 
our Lord selected those to whom He was to commit 
His gospel, we are impressed with the deliberation 
and solemnity of the act : " And it came to pass in 
those days that He went out into a mountain to pray, 
and continued all night in prayer to God. And when 
it was day, He called unto Him His disciples, and of 
them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles." 
There has certainly grown up in the Church a strong 
misgiving as to the whole policy of charitable people 
and benevolent societies who, with their lavish offers of 
help, gather into the ministry, along with many noble, 
faithful men, a multitude who, amiable and pious as 
they may be, are of the kind who make no place in 
life for themselves, but wait till some one kindly makes 
one for them and drops them into it. I am convinced 
that the ministry can never have its true dignity or 
power till it is cut aloof from mendicancy, till young 
men whose hearts are set on preaching make their way 
to the pulpit by the same energy and through the same 


difficulties which meet countless young men on their 
way to business and the bar. We believe the influ 
ence which brings men to the pulpit to be a far holier 
one. It ought, then, to be a far stronger one ; and 
yet we trust less to its power than we do to the power 
of ambition and self-interest. It is a part of the whole 
unmanly way of treating ministers, of which there 
will be more to say. 

It is not easy to describe, with our large views of 
personal liberty and personal rights, what methods of 
inspection and authentication it may be well to use on 
the admission of preachers to their sacred work ; but 
what we most of all need is a clearer understanding 
and a fuller statement of what are the true conditions 
of a minister s success, and so what qualities we have 
a right to ask of ourselves and of one another before 
we can feel that the true call to the ministry has been 
established. We must not draw the line too nar 
rowly. There is nothing more striking about the 
ministry than the way in which very opposite men 
do equally effective work. You look at some great 
preacher, and you say, " There is the type. He who 
is like that can preach," and just as your snug con 
clusion is all made, some other voice rings out from 
a neighboring pulpit, and the same power of God 
reaches the hearts of men in a totally new way, 
and your neat conclusion cracks and breaks. Spur- 
geon preaches at his Surrey Tabernacle, and Liddon 


preaches at St. Paul s, and both are great preachers, 
and yet no two men could be more entirely unlike. 
It must be so. If the preacher is after all only the 
representative man, the representative Christian doing 
in special ways and with a special ordination that 
which all men ought to be doing for Christ and fel 
low-man, then there ought to be as many kinds of 
preachers as there are kinds of Christians ; and there 
are as many kinds of Christians as there are kinds of 

It is evident, then, that only in the largest way can 
the necessary qualities of the preacher be enumerated. 
With this provision such an enumeration may be 

I must not dwell upon the first of all the necessary 
qualities, and yet there is not a moment s doubt that 
it does stand first of all. It is personal piety, a deep 
possession in one s own soul of the faith and hope and 
resolution which he is to offer to his fellow-men for 
their new life. Nothing but fire kindles fire. To 
know in one s whole nature what it is to live by 
Christ ; to be His, not our own ; to be so occupied 
with gratitude for what He did for us and for what 
He continually is to us that His will and His glory 
shall be the sole desires of our life, I wish that I could 
put in some words of new and overwhelming force 
the old accepted certainty that that is the first neces 
sity of the preacher, that to preach without that is 


weary and unsatisfying and unprofitable work, that 
to preach with that is a perpetual privilege and 


And next to this I mention what we may call men 
tal and spiritual unselfishness. I do not speak so 
much of a moral as of an intellectual quality. I 
mean that kind of mind which always conceives of 
truth with reference to its communication and re 
ceives any spiritual blessing as a trust for others. 
Both of these are capable of being cultivated, but I 
hold that there is a natural difference between men 
in this respect. Some men by nature receive truth 
abstractly. They follow it into its developments. 
They fathom its depths. But they never think of 
sending it abroad. They are so enwrapt in seeing 
what it is that they never care to test what it can do. 
Other men necessarily think in relation to other men, 
and their first impulse with every new truth is to give 
it its full range of power. Their love for truth is 
always complemented by a love for man. They are 
two clearly different temperaments. One of them 
does not and the other does make the preacher. 

Again, hopefulness is a necessary quality of the 
true preacher s nature. You know how out of every 
complicated condition of affairs one man naturally 
appropriates all the elements of hope, while another 
invariably gathers up all that tends to despair. The 
latter kind of man may have his uses. There are 


tasks and times for which no prophet but Cassandra 
is appropriate. There were duties laid on sonu? of 
the old Hebrew prophets which perhaps they might 
have done with hearts wholly destitute of any ray of 
light. But such a temper is entirely out of keep 
ing with the Christian Gospel. The preacher may 
sometimes denounce, rebuke, and terrify. When he 
does that, he is not distinctively the preacher of Chris 
tianity. If his nature is such that he must dread 
and fear continually, he was not made to preach the 

If I go on and mention a certain physical condition 
as essential to the preacher, I do so on very serious 
grounds. I am impressed with what seems to me the 
frivolous and insufficient way in which the health of 
the preacher is often treated. It is not simply that 
the sick minister is always hampered and restrained. 
It is not merely that the truth he has within him finds 
imperfect utterance. It is that the preacher s work is 
the most largely human of all occupations. It brings 
a man into more multiplied relations with his fellow- 
man than any other work. It is not the doing of cer 
tain specified duties. You will be sadly mistaken if 
you think it is, and try to set down in your contract 
with your parish just what you are to do, and where 
your duties are to stop. It is the man offered as a 
medium through whom God s influence may reach his 
fellow-men. Such an offering involves the whole 


man, and the whole man is body and soul together. 
Therefore the ideal preacher brings the perfectly 
healthy body with the perfectly sound soul. Kemem- 
ber that the care for your health, the avoidance of 
nervous waste, the training of your voice, and every 
thing else that you do for your body is not merely an 
economy of your organs that they may be fit for cer 
tain works ; it is a part of that total self-consecration 
which cannot be divided, and which all together makes 
you the medium through which God may reach His 
children s lives. I cannot but think that so high a 
view of the consecration of the body would convict 
many of the reputable sins against health in which 
ministers are apt to live, and do the fundamental 
good which the tinkering of the body by specifics for 
special occasions so completely fails to do. 

I speak of only one thing more. I do not know 
how to give it a name, but I do think that in every 
man who preaches there should be something of that 
quality which we recognize in a high degree in some 
man of whom we say, when we see him in the pulpit, 
that he is a " born preacher." Call it enthusiasm ; 
call it eloquence ; call it magnetism ; call it the gift 
for preaching. It is the quality that kindles at the 
sight of men, that feels a keen joy at the meeting of 
truth and the human mind, and recognizes how God 
made them for each other. It is the power by which 
a man loses himself and becomes but the sympathetic 


atmosphere between the truth on one side of him and 
the man on the other side of him. It is the inspira 
tion, the possession, what I have heard called the 
" demon " of preaching. Something of this quality 
there must be in every man who really preaches. He 
who wholly lacks it cannot be a preacher. 

All of these qualities which I have thus enumerated 
exist in degrees. All of them are capable of culture 
if they exist at all All of them are difficult to test ex 
cept by the actual work of preaching. I grant, there 
fore, fully, that it is difficult to draw out of them a set 
of tests which the secretary of an education society 
can apply to candidates, as a recruiting sergeant 
measures volunteers around the chest, and mark 
them as fit or unfit for the ministry. But from their 
enumeration I think still that there does rise up be 
fore us a clear picture of the man who ought to be a 
preacher. Full of the love of Christ, taking all truth 
and blessing as a trust, in the best sense didactic, 
hopeful, healthy, and counting health, as far as it is 
in his power, a part of his self-consecration ; willing, 
not simply as so many men are, to bear sickness for 
God s work, but willing to preserve health for God s 
work ; and going to his preaching with the enthusiasm 
that shows it is what God made him for. The nearer 
you can come to him, my friends, the better preachers 
you will be, the surer you may be that you have a right 
to be preachers at all. 


And the next question will be, When you have the 
right kind of man to make a preacher of, what are 
the changes you will want him to undergo that he 
may become a preacher ? The formal ordination 
which he will meet by and by will be nothing, of 
course, unless it signifies some real experiences which 
have filled these years since his soul heard what it 
recognized as God s call to the ministry. We may 
set him apart from other men with what solemn cere 
monies we may please, but he will be just like other 
men still, unless the power of the work to which he 
looks forward has entered into him during his careful 
preparation and made him different. 

What does this difference consist in ? What is the 
true preparation ? First, and most evident, there are 
his special studies which have been filling him with 
their spirit. Most men begin really to study when they 
enter on the preparation for their professions. Men 
whose college life, with its general culture, has been 
very idle, begin to work when at the door of the pro 
fessional school the work of their life comes into sight 
before them. It is the way in which a bird who has 
been wheeling vaguely hither and thither sees at last 
its home in the distance and flies towards it like 
an arrow. But shall I say to you how often I have 
thought that the very transcendent motives of the 
young minister s study have a certain tendency to be 
wilder him and make his study less faithful than that 


of men seeking other professions from lower motives ? 
The highest motive often dazzles before it illuminates. 
It is one of the ways in which the light within us be 
comes darkness. I never shall forget my first experi 
ence of a divinity school. I had come from a college 
where men studied hard but said nothing about faith. 
I had never been at a prayer-meeting in my life. The 
first place I was taken to at the seminary was the 
prayer-meeting ; and never shall I lose the impression 
of the devoutness with which those men prayed and 
exhorted one another. Their whole souls seemed ex 
alted and their natures were on fire. I sat bewil 
dered and ashamed, and went away depressed. On 
the next day I met some of those same men at a Greek 
recitation. It would be little to say of some of the 
devoutest of them that they had not learnt their les 
sons. Their whole way showed that they never learnt 
their lessons ; that they had not got hold of the first 
principles of hard, faithful, conscientious study. The 
boiler had no connection with the engine. The devo 
tion did not touch the work which then and there 
was the work and the only work for them to do. By 
and by I found something of where the steam did 
escape to. A sort of amateur, premature preaching 
was much in vogue among us. We were in haste to 
be at what we called " our work." A feeble twilight 
of the coming ministry we lived in. The people in 


the neighborhood dubbed us " parsonnettes." Oh, 
my fellow-students, the special study of theology and 
all that appertains to it, that is what the preacher 
must be doing always ; but he never can do it after 
wards as he can in the blessed days of quiet in Arabia, 
after Christ has called him, and before the Apostles 
lay their hands upon him. In many respects an igno 
rant clergy, however pious it may be, is worse than 
none at all. The more the empty head glows and 
burns, the more hollow and thin and dry it grows. 
" The knowledge of the priest," said St. Francis de 
Sales, " is the eighth sacrament of the Church." 

But again, the minister s preparation of character 
for his work involves something more intimate than 
the accumulation of knowledge. The knowledge 
which comes into him meets in him the intention of 
preaching, and, touched by that, undergoes a trans 
formation. It is changed into doctrine. Doctrine 
means this, truth considered with reference to its 
being taught. The reason why many men dislike the 
word " doctrine " is from their dislike of the whol^ 
notion of docility which is attached to it. Just as a 
citizen who is preparing himself for public office con 
siders the law and character of the State not ab 
stractly, but with reference to their application to the 
people whom he aspires to govern ; just as the student 
in a normal school learns everything with an under- 


consciousness that he is going to teach that same thing 
some day, influencing all the methods of his learning ; 
so the student preparing to be a preacher cannot learn 
truth as the mere student of theology for its own sake 
might do. He always feels it reaching out through 
him to the people to whom he is some day to carry it. 
He cannot get rid of this consciousness. It influences 
all his understanding. We can see that it must have 
its dangers. It will threaten the impartiality with 
which he will seek truth. It will tempt him to prefer 
those forms of truth which most easily lend them 
selves to didactic uses, rather than those which bring 
evidence of being most simply and purely true. That 
is the danger of all preachers. Against that danger 
the man meaning to be a preacher must be upon his 
guard, but he cannot avoid the danger by sacrificing 
the habit out of which the danger springs. He must 
receive truth as one who is to teach it. He cannot, he 
must not study as if the truth he sought were purely 
for his own culture or enrichment. And the result 
of such a habit, followed with due guard against its 
dangerous tendencies, will be threefold. It will bring, 
first, a deeper and more solemn sense of responsibility 
in the search of truth ; second, a desire to find the 
human side of every truth, the point at which every 
speculation touches humanity ; and, third, a breadth 
which comes from the constant presence in the mind 
of the fact that truth has various aspects and presents 


itself in many ways to different people, according to 
their needs and characters. 

Along with this preparation for preaching goes an 
other. I said the man who studied with the intention 
of teaching learned to see and seize the human side 
of all divinity. It is true, also, that he learns to seize 
the divine side of all humanity. The sources from 
which his preaching is to be fed open on every side of 
him, I can remember how, as I looked forward to 
preaching, every book I read and every man I talked 
with seemed to teem with sermons. They all sug 
gested something which it seemed as if the preacher 
of the Gospel ought to say to men. I have not found 
the sermons in them all as I went on ; not, I believe, 
because I was mistaken in thinking they were there, 
but because I have grown less eager or keen in find 
ing them. I think there is no point in which minis 
ters differ from one another, and in which we all differ 
from ourselves, more than in this, this opeu-minded- 
ness and power of appropriating out of everything the 
elements of true instruction. I find two classes of 
ministers of different habits in this respect. One of 
them abjures everything outside the narrowest lines 
of technically religious reading, has no knowledge of 
literature or art or science. The other minister cul 
tivates them all, but his life in them is wholly outside 
of his life as a preacher. He changes his nature when 
he turns away from his sermon and takes a volume 


from his shelves. And his shelves themselves are di 
vided. His secular and his religious books are ranged 
on opposite sides of his study. There is something 
better than either, a true devotion to our work 
which will not let us leave it for a moment when we 
are once ordained ; preachers once and preachers al 
ways ; but a conception of our work so large that 
everything which a true man has any right to do or 
know may have some help to render it. And this is 
what you ought to be laying the foundation of in 
these preparatory days. 

You will see that I place very great value on this 
preparation, in which a man who is devout and 
earnest comes to that fitness for his work which St. 
Paul describes in a word that he uses twice to Timo 
thy, " apt to teach," " JiSa/m/co?," the didactic man. 
It is not something to which one comes by accident 
or by any sudden burst of fiery zeal. No doubt there 
is a power in the untutored utterance of the new con 
vert that the ripe utterances of the educated preacher 
often lack ; but it is not so much a praise to the new 
convert that he has that power as it is a shame to the 
educated preacher that he does not have it all the 
more richly in proportion to his education. And 
whatever else he has, the man who has leaped directly 
from his own experience into the pulpit will almost 
certainly be wanting in that breadth of sympathy and 
understanding which comes in the studies of the wait- 


ing years. He will know that other men are not 
made just like himself, but he will realize only him 
self, and preach to them as if they were. He will be 
like the man whom Archbishop Whately tells of, who 
was born blind and afterwards brought to sight. 
" The room he was in, he said, he knew must be part 
of the house, yet he could not conceive that the whole 
house could look bigger than that one room." So our 
new Christian experience only slowly realizes that it 
is but one part of the universal Christian life. Only 
as our study carries us from room to room does the 
whole house grow real to us. 

Suppose our minister now actually preaching, and 
next let us ask, What are the elements of personal 
power which will make him successful ? Eemember 
success in preaching is no identical, invariable thing. 
It differs in all whom we call successful men, and so 
only the broadest and most general description can 
be given of the qualities that will secure it. Special 
successes will require special fitness. But he who 
has these qualities that I enumerate is sure to succeed 
somewhere and somehow. 

And first among the elements of power which make 
success I must put the supreme importance of char 
acter, of personal uprightness and purity impressing 
themselves upon the men who witness them. There 
is a very striking remark in Lord Nugent s " Memo 
rials of John Hampden," where, speaking of the English 


Reformation, he is led to make this general observa 
tion : " Indeed, no hierarchy and no creed has ever 
been overthrown by the people on account only of its 
theoretical dogmas, so long as the practice of the 
clergy was incorrupt and conformable with their pro 
fessions." I believe that that is strictly true. And it 
is always wonderful to see how much stronger are the 
antipathies and sympathies which belong to men s 
moral nature than those which are purely intellectual. 
Baxter tells us in an interesting passage how in the 
civil wars " an abundance of the ignorant sort of the 
common people which were civil did flock in to the 
Parliament and filled up their armies merely because 
they heard men swear for the Common Prayer and 
bishops, and heard men pray that were against them. 
And all the sober men that I was acquainted with who 
were against the Parliament were wont to say, The 
king hath the better cause, but the Parliament the 
better men. " The better men will always conquer 
the better cause. I suppose no cause could be so 
good that, sustained by bad men and opposed by any 
error whose champions were men of spotless lives, it 
would not fall. The truth must conquer, but it must 
first embody itself in goodness. And in the ministry it 
is not merely by superficial prejudice, but by the sound 
est reason, that intellect and spirituality come to be 
tested, not by the views men hold so much as by the 
way in which they hold them, and the sort of men 


which their views seem to make of them. Whatever 
strange and scandalous eccentricities the ministry has 
sometimes witnessed, this is certainly true, and is al 
ways encouraging, that no man permanently succeeds 
in it who cannot make men believe that he is pure and 
devoted, and the only sure and lasting way to make 
men believe in one s devotion and purity is to be what 
one wishes to be believed to be. 

I put next to this fundamental necessity of char 
acter as an element of the preacher s power, the free 
dom from self-consciousness. My mind goes back to 
a young man whom I knew in the ministry, who did 
an amount of work at which men wondered, and who, 
dying early, left a power behind him whose influence 
will go on long after his name is forgotten; and the 
great feature of his character was his forgetfulness 
of self. He had not two questions to ask about every 
piece of work he did, first, " How shall I do it most 
effectively for others ? " and second, " How shall I do 
it most creditably to myself ? " Only the first question 
ever seemed to come to him ; and when a task was 
done so that it should most perfectly accomplish its 
designed result, he left it and went on to some new 
task. There is wonderful clearness and economy of 
force in such simplicity. No man ever yet thought 
whether he was preaching well without weakening his 
sermon. I think there are few higher or more de 
lightful moments in a preacher s life than that which 


comes sometimes when, standing before a congrega 
tion arid haunted by questionings about the merit of 
your preaching, which you hate but cannot drive 
away, at last, suddenly or gradually, you find your 
self taken into the power of your truth, absorbed in 
one sole desire to send it into the men whom you are 
preaching to ; and then every sail is set, and your ser 
mon goes bravely out to sea, leaving yourself high 
and dry upon the beach, where it has been holding 
your sermon stranded. The second question disap 
pears out of your work, just in proportion as the first 
question grows intense. No man is perfectly strong 
until the second question has disappeared entirely. 
Devotion is like the candle which, as Vasari tells us, 
Michael Angelo used to carry stuck on his forehead in 
a pasteboard cap, and which kept his own shadow 
from being cast upon his work while he was hewing 
out his statues. 

The next element of a preacher s power is genuine 
respect for the people whom he preaches to. I should 
not like to say how rare I think this power, or how 
plentiful a source of weakness I think its absence is. 
There is a great deal of the genuine sympathy of sen 
timent. There is a great deal of liking for certain 
people in our congregations who are interesting in 
themselves and who are interested in what interests 
us. There is a great deal of the feeling that the clergy 


need the cooperation of the laity, and so must cultivate 
their intimacy. But of a real profound respect for the 
men and women whom we preach fco, simply as men 
and women, of a deep value for the capacity that is in 
them, a sense that we are theirs and not they ours, I 
think that there is far too little. But without this 
there can be no real strength in the preacher. We 
patronize the laity now that our power of domineering 
over them has been mercifully taken away. Many a 
time the tone of a clergyman who has talked of the 
relations of the preacher and the people, setting forth, 
with the best will in the world, their mutual functions, 
reminds one of the sermon of the medieval preacher, 
who, discoursing on this same subject, on the necessary 
cooperation of the clergy and the laity, took his text 
out of Job i. 14: " The oxen were ploughing and the 
asses feeding beside them." There is no good preach 
ing in the supercilious preacher. No man preaches 
well who has not a strong and deep appreciation of 
humanity. The minister is often called upon to give 
up the society of the cultivated and learned to whom 
he would most be drawn, but he finds his compensa 
tion and strength in knowing man, simply as man, 
and learning his inestimable worth. 

I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher s 
success that he should thoroughly enjoy his work. I 
mean in the actual doing of it, and not only in its 


idea. No man to whom the details of his task are re 
pulsive can do his task well constantly, however full 
he may be of its spirit. He may make one bold dash 
at it and carry it over all his disgusts, but he cannot 
work on at it year after year, day after day. There 
fore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, 
count it an essential element of your power, if you can 
feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a min 
ister, in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, 
in standing before men and moving them, in contact 
with the young. The more thoroughly you enjoy it, 
the better you will do it all. 

I almost hesitate as I speak of the next element of 
the preacher s power. I almost doubt by what name I 
shall call it to give the impression of the thing I mean. 
Perhaps there is no better name than Gravity. I 
mean simply that grave and serious way of looking 
at life which, while it never repels the true lighthearted- 
ness of pure and trustful hearts, welcomes into a 
manifest sympathy the souls of men who are oppressed 
and burdened, anxious and full of questions which for 
the time at least have banished all laughter from their 
faces. I know, indeed, the miserableness of all mock 
gravity. I think I am as much disgusted at it as any 
body. The abuse and satire that have been heaped 
upon it are legitimate enough, though somewhat 
cheap. The gravity that is assumed, that merely hides 
with solemn front the lack of thought and feeling, 


that is put on as the uniform of a profession, that con 
sists in certain forms, and is shocked at any serious 
thought of life more truly grave than it is, but which 
happens to show itself under other forms which it 
chooses to call frivolous, this is worthy of all satire 
and contempt. The merely solemn ministers are very 
empty, and deserve all that has been heaped upon 
them of contempt through all the ages. They are 
cheats and shams. As they stand with their little 
knobs of prejudice down their straight coats of 
precision, they are like nothing so much as the chest 
of drawers which Mr. Bob Sawyer showed to Mr. 
Winkle in his little surgery : " Dummies, my dear 
boy," said he to his impressed, astonished visitor; 
" half the drawers have nothing in them, and the 
other half don t open." I know what the abuse of 
such men means. I know there are men who deserve 
it. But I cannot help thinking that we have about 
come to the time when all of that abuse is of the 
safe and feeble character which belongs to all satire 
of unpopular foibles and abuses which are in decay. 
I think that at least there is another creature who 
ought to share with the clerical prig the contempt 
of Christian people. I mean the clerical jester in all 
the varieties of his unpleasant existence. He appears 
in and out of the pulpit. He lays his hands on the 
most sacred things, and leaves defilement upon all he 
touches. He is full of Bible jokes. He talks about 


the Church s sacred symbols in the language of stale 
jests that have come down from generations of feeble 
clerical jesters before him. The doctrines which, if 
they mean anything, mean life or death to souls, he 
turns into material for chaff that flies back and forth, 
like the traditional banter of the Thames, between the 
clerical watermen who ply their boats on this side or 
that side of the river of Theology. There are passages 
in the Bible which are soiled for ever by the touches 
which the hands of ministers who delight in cheap and 
easy jokes have left upon them. 

I think there is nothing that stirs one s indignation 
more than this, in all he sees of ministers. It is a 
purely wanton fault. What is simply stupid every 
where else becomes terrible here. The buffoonery 
which merely tries me when I hear it from a gang of 
laborers digging a ditch beside my door angers and 
frightens me when it comes from the lips of the cap 
tain who holds the helm or the surgeon on whose skill 
my life depends. You will not misunderstand me, I 
am sure. The gravity of which I speak is not incon 
sistent with the keenest perception of the ludicrous side 
of things. It is more than consistent with it is even 
necessary to humor. Humor involves the perception 
of the true proportions of life. It is one of the most 
helpful qualities that the preacher can possess. There 
is no extravagance which deforms the pulpit which 


would not be modified and repressed, often entirely 
obliterated, if the minister had a true sense of humor. 
It has softened the bitterness of controversy a thou 
sand times. You cannot encourage it too much. You 
cannot grow too familiar with the books of all ages 
which have in them the truest humor, for the truest 
humor is the bloom of the highest life. Eead George 
Eliot and Thackeray, and, above all, Shakespeare. 
They will help you to keep from extravagances with 
out fading into insipidity. They will preserve your 
gravity while they save you from pompous solemnity. 
But humor is something very different from frivolity. 
People sometimes ask whether it is right to make 
people laugh in church by something that you say from 
the pulpit, as if laughter were always one invariable 
thing ; as if there were not a smile which swept across 
a great congregation like the breath of a May morn 
ing, making it fruitful for whatever good thing might 
be sowed in it, and another laughter that was like the 
crackling of thorns under a pot. The smile that is 
stirred by true humor and the smile that comes from 
the mere tickling of the fancy are as different from one 
another as the tears that sorrow forces from the soul 
are from the tears that you compel a man to shed by 
pinching him. 

And there is no delusion greater than to think that 
you commend your work and gain an influence over 


people by becoming the clerical humorist. It builds 
a wall between your fellow-men and you. It makes 
them less inclined to seek you in their spiritual need. 
I think that many of us feel this, and have a sort of 
dread when we see laymen growing familiar with 
clergymen s society. That society is on the whole 
lofty and inspiring, but there are some things in it of 
which you who are soon to become clergymen must 
beware. Keep the sacredness of your profession clear 
and bright even in little things. Eefrain from all jok 
ing about congregations, flocks, parish visits, sermons, 
the mishaps of the pulpit, or the makeshifts of the 
study. Such joking is always bad, and almost always 
stupid; but it is very common, and it takes the 
bloom off a young minister s life. This is the reason 
why so many people shrink, I believe, from personally 
knowing the preachers to whom they listen with 
respect and gratitude. They fear what they so often 
find. But really the minister s life may be a help and 
enforcement of all his preaching. The quality which 
makes it so is this which I call gravity. It has a deli 
cate power of discrimination. It attracts all that it 
can help and it repels all that could harm it or be 
harmed by it. It admits the earnest and simple with 
a cordial welcome. It shuts out the impertinent and 
insincere inexorably. Pure gravity is like the hinges 
of the wonderful gates of the ancient labyrinth, so 
strong that no battery could break them down, but 


so delicately hung that a child s light touch could 
make them swing back and let him in. 

There is another source of power which I can 
hardly think of as a separate quality, but rather as 
the sum and result of all the qualities which I have 
been naming. I mean Courage. It is the indis 
pensable requisite of any true ministry. The timid 
minister is as bad as the timid surgeon. Courage is 
good everywhere, but it is necessary here. If you are 
afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do 
something else. Go and make shoes to fit them. Go 
even and paint pictures which you know are bad but 
which suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all your 
life preaching sermons which shall say not what God 
sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. 
Be courageous. Be independent. Only remember 
where the true courage and independence comes from. 
Courage in the ministry is, I think, one of those 
qualities which cannot be healthily acquired if it is 
sought for directly. It must come as health comes in 
the body, as the result of the seeking for other things. 
It must be from a sincere respect for men s higher 
nature that you must grow bold to resist their whims. 
He who begins by despising men will often end by 
being their slave. A passionate desire to do men 
good is always the surest safeguard that they shall 
not do us harm. Jesus Himself was bold before men 

out of the infinite love which He felt for men. That 


was the way in which He ruled them from His cross, 
and was their Master because He was their servant 
even unto death. 

There is one other topic upon which I wished to 
dwell in this lecture, but on this I must speak very 
briefly. I wanted to try to estimate with you some of 
the dangers to a man s own character which come from 
his being a preacher. The first of these dangers, be 
yond all doubt, is Self-conceit. In a certain sense 
every young minister is conceited. He begins his 
ministry in a conceited condition. At least every 
man begins with extravagant expectations of what 
his ministry is to result in. We come out from it 
by and by. A man s first wonder when he begins to 
preach is that people do not come to hear him. After 
a while, if he is good for anything, he begins to wonder 
that they do. He finds out that old Adam is too 
strong for young Melanchthon. It is not strange that 
it should be so. It is not to the young minister s dis 
credit that it should be so. The student for the 
ministry has to a large extent comprehended the force 
by which he is to work, but he has not measured the 
resistance that he is to meet. He knows the power 
of the truth of which he is all full, but he has not 
estimated the sin of which the world is all full. The 
more earnest and intense and full of love for God 
and man he is, the more impossible does it seem that 
he should not do great things for his Master. And 


then the character of men s ministries, it seems to me, 
depends very largely upon the ways in which they 
pass out of that first self-confidence and upon what 
condition comes afterwards when it is gone. 

The first way in which life affects this self-confi 
dence and lifts men out of their conceit is by Success, 
by letting us see the work which we are undertaking 
actually going on under our hands. It is only in poor 
men and in the lower things that success increases 
self-conceit. In every high work and in men worthy 
of it, success is always sure to bring humility. "Re 
cognition," said Hawthorne once, " makes a man very 
modest." The knowledge that you are really accom 
plishing results, and the reassurance of that knowledge 
by the judgment of your fellow-men, opens to you the 
deeper meaning of your work, shows you how great 
it is, makes you ashamed of all the praise men give 
you, as you see gradually how much better your work 
might have been done. I think that some of the 
noblest and richest characters among ministers in all 
times are those who have been humiliated by men s 
praises and enlightened by success. 

But there is another way by which men go out of 
their first satisfaction, by a door directly opposite to 
this, by Failure. Failure and success to really work 
ing ministers are only relative. Remember that no 
true man wholly succeeds or wholly fails. But the 
main difference in effect between what we call success 


and what we call failure in the ministry is here : 
success makes a man dwell upon and be thankful for 
how much a preacher can do ; failure makes a man 
think how much there is which no preacher can do, 
and is apt to weigh him down into depression. It 
confronts him with the magnitude of the task of the 
Christian ministry, not as a great temptation, but as 
a great burden. He is paralyzed as Hamlet was. 

" The time is out of joint : cursed spite, 
That ever I was born to set it right ! " 

Such an end of a young man s first high hopes h 
terrible to see. The very power that once made him 
strong now weakens him. The weight that was his 
ballast and helped his speed sinks him when once the 
leak has come. There is no help except in a profounder 
retreat of the whole nature upon God, such a percep 
tion of Him and of His dearness as shall take off our 
heavy responsibility and make us ready to fail for Him 
with joy as well as to succeed for Him, if such shall 
be His choice ; and ready to work as hard for Him in 
failure as in success, because we work not for success 
but for Him. The drawing of the man back into God 
by failure is always a noble sight, and no region of 
life has such noble specimens of it to show as the 
Christian ministry. 

There is another refuge when the young preacher s 
first self-conceit is shaken. It is into another self-con- 


ceit which is smaller than the first. The beleaguered 
householder refuses to surrender, and retreats from 
his strong outer ramparts, defending one line after 
another till at last he dwells only in his most mean 
and worthless chamber. A man makes up his mind 
that he is not going to convert the world. The strong 
holds of the Prince of Evil evidently will not fall before 
him. He is to leave the unbuilt kingdom of God very 
much as he found it when he came into the ministry. 
But then he falls back upon some petty pride. " My 
church is full ; " " My name is prominent in the 
movements of my denomination ; " " My sermons win 
the compliments of people ; " or simply this, " I am a 
minister. I bear a dignity that these laymen cannot 
boast. I have an ordination which separates me into 
an indefinable, mysterious privilege." Here is the 
beginning of many of the fantastic and exaggerated 
theories about the ministry. The little preacher 
magnifies his office in a most unpauline way. And 
you hear a man to whom no one cares to listen 
quoting the solemn words of God about " whether 
men will hear or whether they will forbear," as if 
they had been spoken to him as much as to Ezekiel. 
What shall we say then ? What is the true escape 
from the crudeness of the untried preacher which 
settles and centres all his thought upon himself ? It 
is an escape which many a preacher has found and 
gradually passed into. It is the growing devotion of 


his life to God, the more and more complete absorp 
tion of his being in the seeking of God s glory. As 
he goes on, the work unfolds itself. It outgoes all his 
powers. But as he looks over its increasing vastness 
he sees it on every side touching the omnipotence of 
God. As he sees more and more clearly that he will 
never do what he once hoped to do, it becomes clear 
to him at the same time that God will do it in His own 
time and way. His own disappointment is swallowed 
up and drowned in the promise of his Lord s success. 
He becomes a true John Baptist. He is happy with a 
higher joy, and works with an energy that he never 
knew before. This is the true refuge of the minister 
in the disenchantment of his earliest dreams. 

Another of the dangers of the clergyman s life is 
Self - indulgence. The ways and methods of the 
minister s work are almost wholly at his own control. 
It is impossible for him to reduce his life to a routine. 
There are but few tests which he must meet at special 
times, as a business man must meet his notes when 
they are due. And a great deal of his work is of that 
sort which requires spontaneity for its best execution. 
The result of all these causes working together is to 
create in many a minister a certain feeling that his 
faithfulness in his work is not to be judged as other 
men s faithfulness in their work is. Indeed, I think, the 
very consciousness of labouring under a loftier motive 


has often a tendency to weaken the conscientiousness 
with which each minute detail of work is met. There 
is a lurking Antinomianism in many a most Arminian 
study. We are apt to become men of moods, thinking 
we cannot work unless we feel like it. There is just 
enough of the artistic element in what we have to do, to 
let us fall into the artist s ways and leave our brushes 
idle when the sky frowns or the head aches. But the 
artistic element is, after all, the smallest element in 
the true sermon. Its best qualities depend on those 
moral and spiritual conditions which may be always 
present in the devoted servant of God. And so the 
first business of the preacher is to conquer the tyranny 
of his moods, and to be always ready for his work. 
It can be done. The man who has not learned to do 
it has not really reached the secret of Jesus, which 
was such utter love for His Father and man, between 
whom He stood, as obliterated all thought of Himself 
save as a medium, through which the divine might 
come down to the human. We read of Jesus that He 
again and again grew heavy in spirit. In utter weari 
ness, sometimes, when His work was done, He would 
withdraw into a mountain, or put out in a boat upon 
the lake. We can feel the fluctuations of that human 
ity of His, and, interpreting it by our own, we can 
seem to see how one bright morning by the seaside 
He was exuberant and joyous, and on another morn- 


ing He would be sad and burdened. We can trace 
the differences in the kind of preaching of the two 
different days. But through it all there is nothing in 
the least like self-indulgence. We are sure that no 
day ever went without its preaching, because it found 
Him moody and depressed. He did no mighty works 
in Nazareth ; but it was because of the people s unbe 
lief, not because of His own reluctance. So it may be 
with us. It is part of the privilege of our humanity, 
it is part of the advantage of our people in having 
men and not machines for ministers, that we preach 
the truth in various lights, or shades, according as 
God brightens or darkens our own experience ; but 
any mood which makes us unfit to preach at all, or 
really weakens our will to preach, is bad, and can be 
broken through. Then is the time for the conscience 
to bestir itself and for the man to be a man. 

I wish that it were possible for one to speak to the 
laity of our churches frankly and freely about their 
treatment of the clergy. The clergy are largely what 
the laity make them. And though one may look 
wholly without regret upon the departure of that 
reverence which seems to have clothed the preacher s 
office in our fathers days, I think he must have many 
misgivings about the weaker substitute for it, which 
in many instances has taken its place. It was not 
good that the minister should be worshipped and 
made an oracle. It is still worse that he should be 


flattered and made a pet. And there is such a ten 
dency in these days among our weaker people. 1 
have already spoken of the way in which many men 
are petted into the ministry. It is possible for such 
a man, if he has popular gifts, to be petted all through 
his ministry, never once to come into strong contact 
with other men, or to receive one good hard knock 
of the sort that brings out manliness and character. 
The people who gather closest around a minister s 
life, believing his beliefs, and accepting his standards, 
make a sort of cushion between him and the unbelief 
and wickedness which smite other men in the face and 
wound them mercilessly at every turn. It is not 
wholly unnatural. The minister stands in a unique 
position to the community. In no other man s private 
affairs, his health, his comfort, his freedom from 
financial care, are so many people so directly interested. 
It is not strange that that interest in him and care for 
him, which ought simply to put him where, without 
personal fear or personal indebtedness, he may bravely 
and independently be himself and speak out his own 
soul, should often be corrupted into a poison of his 
manhood, and a temptation to his self-indulgence. It 
is beyond all doubt the weak point of our American 
voluntary system, which brings the minister into those 
close personal relations to his people which on the 
whole are good and healthy, but which have this one 
defect and danger. 


If you have read the life of Frederick Robertson 
you know how hateful many of the incidents of the life 
of a popular minister were to him. So they must be 
to every true man. If a man is not wholly true they 
find out his weak point and fix upon it. He begins 
to expect different treatment from other men. His 
personal woes and pains seem to him things of public 
interest. He grows first unhuman in the separation 
from the ordinary standard of his race, and that 
makes him inhuman, unsympathetic. The weak is 
always cruel. 

Mr. Galton, in his work on " Hereditary Genius," 
summing up the result of his reading in clerical bio 
graphies, declares that " A gently complaining and 
fatigued spirit is that in which Evangelical Divines 
are very apt to pass their days." These words tell 
perfectly a story that we all know who have been in 
timate with many ministers. That which ought to be 
the manliest of all professions has a tendency, practi 
cally, to make men unmanly. Men make appeals for 
sympathy that no true man should make. They take 
to themselves St. Paul s pathos without St. Paul s 
strength. Against that tendency, my friends, set your 
whole force. Fear its insidiousness. " I feel no in 
toxicating effect," wrote Macaulay when the first flush 
of his success was on him, " but a man may be drunk 
without knowing it." Insist on applying to yourself 
tests which others refuse to apply to you. Eesent 


indulgences which are not given to men of other pro 
fessions. Learn to enjoy and be sober ; learn to suffer 
and be strong. Never appeal for sympathy. Let it 
find you out if it will. Count your manliness the soul 
of your ministry and resist all attacks upon it however 
sweetly they may come. 

I had hoped to say some words, to-day, about one 
other danger of the preacher s life, I mean the danger 
of narrowness. We all live within the rings of con 
centric circles. They extend one beyond another till 
they come to that outmost circle of all, the horizon 
where humanity touches divinity, as the earth meets 
the sky. Now I hold that all that is by God s appoint 
ment, and is intended for our best good. The narrow 
ness is for the sake of breadth. I hold that every 
smaller circle is meant to carry the eye out to the 
next larger than itself, and so, at last, to the largest 
of all. You stand firm on your one little spot, and 
thence you look out and find yourself, like Tenny 
son s eagle, " ringed with the azure world." So every 
smaller circle of your moral life is meant to carry you 
out, and make you realize the larger circles. You 
may be a better minister because you are clear in 
your denominational position as a Congregationalist 
or Episcopalian : and because you are a minister you 
may be a better man. The danger is lest the smaller 
circle, instead of tempting the sight onward, jealously 
confines it to itself. Narrowness is to be escaped, not 


by deserting our special function, but by compelling 
it to open to us the things beyond itself. You will 
not be a better man by pretending that you are not a 
Christian, nor a better Christian by pretending to have 
no dogmatic faith. The true breadth comes by the 
strength of your own belief making you tolerant of 
other believers ; and by the earnestness of your Chris 
tianity teaching you your brotherhood even to the 
most unchristian men. 

I must stop here. I have spoken very freely of these 
dangers and hindrances with which the preacher s 
occupations beset his character. Yet you must not mis 
understand me. There is no occupation in which it 
is so possible, nay so easy to live a noble life. These 
tares grow rank only because the soil is rich. The 
wheat grows rich beside them. The Christian minis 
try is the largest field for the growth of a human soul 
that this world offers. In it he who is faithful must 
go on learning more and more for ever. His growth 
in learning is all bound up with his growth in char 
acter. Nowhere else do the moral and intellectual so 
sympathize, and lose or gain together. The minister 
must grow. His true growth is not necessarily a 
change of views. It is a change of view. It is not 
revolution. It is progress. It is a continual climb 
ing which opens continually wider prospects. It re 
peats the experience of Christ s disciples, of whom 


their Lord was always making larger men and then 
giving them the larger truth of which their enlarged 
natures had become capable. Once more, I rejoice 
for you that this is the ministry in which you are to 
spend your lives. 

TT7"HEN I was just about to begin the writing of 
this lecture, I chanced to be thrown for a day 
or two into the company of a young man who had 
been engaged in the work of the ministry only a few 
months. He was in the first flush and fervor of his 
new experience, and in listening to him I recalled 
much of the spirit with which I myself began many 
years ago. The spirit had not passed away, but the 
first freshness of many impressions had been ripened, 
I hope, into something better, but still into something 
soberer. He revived for me the delight of that new 
and strange relation to his fellow-men which comes 
when a young man who thus far in his life has had 
others ministering to him, finds the conditions now 
reversed and other men are looking up to him for cul 
ture. There is the sober joy of responsibility. There 
is the surprised recognition of something which we 
have learned in some one of our schools of books or 
life, and counted useless, which now some man we meet 
welcomes when we give it to him as if it were the one 



thing for which he had been always waiting. There 
is the hopefulness that fears no failure. There is the 
pleasure of a new knowledge of ourselves as others 
begin to call out in us what we never knew was there. 
There is the joy of being trusted and responded to. 
There is the deepened sacredness of prayer and of 
communion with God when we go to Him, not merely 
for ourselves and for the great vague world, but for 
a people whom we have begun to love and call our 
own, while we know that they are His. There is the 
discovery of the better and devouter nature in men. 
There is the interest of countless new details and the 
inspiration of the noblest purpose for which a man 
can live. All these together make up the happiness 
and hope of those bright days in which a strong and 
healthy and devout young man is just entering the 
ministry of the Gospel. 

I wish to speak to you to-day about the preacher in 
his work, and what I shall have to say will naturally 
divide itself into suggestions with reference to the 
nature, the method, and the spirit of that work. 

I must recur to what I said in the first lecture about 
the true character of preaching. Preaching is the com 
munication of truth through a ID an to men. The 
human element is essential in it, and not merely acci 
dental. There cannot really be a sermon in a stone, 
whatever lessons the stone may have to teach. This 
being so, we must carry out the importance of the 


human element to its full consequence. It is not only 
necessary for a sermon that there should be a human 
being to speak to other human beings, but for a good 
sermon there must be a man who can speak well, whose 
nature stands in right relations to those to whom he 
speaks, who has brought his life close to theirs with 
sympathy. In every highest task there is an instinc 
tive tendency of men to shirk and hide under the pro 
tection of some idea of fate. And very often we hear 
ministers trying to escape responsibility by vague and 
foolish statements that the truth is everything, and 
that it ought not to make any difference to a congre 
gation how or from whom they hear it. It is a latent 
fatalism, a readiness to count out of the highest oper 
ations the play of human free will and choice, which 
lies at the bottom of such speeches. The same reason 
which requires a man for a preacher at all requires as 
wise and strong and well- furnished, as skilful and as 
eloquent a man as can be found or made. The duty 
of making yourself acceptable to people, and winning 
by all manly ways their confidence in you, and in the 
truth which you tell, is one that is involved in the very 
fact of your being a preacher. And the dignity of the 
purpose gives dignity to many details which in them 
selves are trivial. The study of language and of 
oratory, which would belittle you if they were merely 
undertaken for your own culture, are noble when you 
undertake them in order that your tongue may be a 


worthier minister of God s truth ; and the assiduous 
attention to people, and their tastes and habits and 
ways of thinking, which would be slavery if it had 
no object besides their pleasure or your own repute, 
is a lofty exercise, if it has for its purpose the 
finding out on which side of every man you can best 
bring to him the truth. Here stands a man, and two 
other men are watching him. Both of them are 
studying his character. Both want to know what he 
thinks about, what his tastes are, how he spends his 
time. One of them is trying to find how he can best 
win from him a dollar or a vote. The other is trying 
to see what is his true way to preach the Gospel to 
that fellow-man. There are the meanest and the 
noblest relations which any man can occupy towards 
his fellow-man. The first is ignominious beyond 
description. It is a relation too low for any man to 
hold. A true man would rather starve than occupy 
it. But the other is a relation in which every man 
must stand who means to really preach to any 
brother. It is but the effort after what it is in our 
feeble power to attain of that knowledge of humanity 
which was in Him who " knew what was in man," and 
who, therefore, " spake as never man spake." 

It follows from this that the work of the preacher 
and the pastor really belong together, and ought not 
to be separated. I believe that very strongly. Every 
now and then somebody rises with a plea that is very 


familiar and specious. He says, how much better it 
would be if only there could be a classification of 
ministers and duties. Let some ministers be wholly 
preachers, and some be wholly pastors. Let one class 
visit the flock, to direct and comfort them ; and the 
other class stand in the pulpit. You will not go far 
in your ministry before you will be tempted to echo 
that desire. The two parts of a preacher s work are 
always in rivalry. When you find that you can 
never sit down to study and write without the faces 
of the people, whom you know need your care, looking 
at you from the paper ; and yet you never can go out 
among your people without hearing your forsaken 
study reproaching you, and calling you home, you 
may easily come to believe that it would be good in 
deed if you could be one or other of two things, and 
not both ; either a preacher or a pastor, but not the 
two together. But I assure you you are wrong. The 
two things are not two, but one. There may be 
preachers here and there with such a deep, intense 
insight into the general humanity, that they can 
speak to men without knowing the men to whom 
they speak. Such preachers are very rare ; and other 
preachers, who have not their power, trying to do it, 
are sure to preach to some unreal, uuhuman man of 
their own imagination. There are some pastors here 
and there with such a constantly lofty and spiritual 
view of little things, that they can go about from 


house to house, year after year, and deal with men 
and women at their common work, and lift the men 
and women to themselves, and never fall to the level 
of the men and women whom they teach. Such pas 
tors are rare ; and other men, trying to do it, and 
never in more formal way from the pulpit treating 
truth in its larger aspects, are sure to grow frivo 
lous gossips or tiresome machines. The preacher 
needs to be pastor, that he may preach to real men. 
The pastor must be preacher, that he may keep the 
dignity of his work alive. The preacher, who is not 
a pastor, grows remote. The pastor, who is not a 
preacher, grows petty. Never be content to let men 
truthfully say of you, " He is a preacher, but no pas 
tor ; " or, " He is a pastor, but no preacher." Be both ; 
for you cannot really be one unless you also are the 

Of the pastor s function considered by itself there 
is, I think, but very little to be said. I count of little 
worth all sets of rules, all teaching directly on the 
subject. The books that teach a pastor s duty except 
in the way of the most general suggestion are almost 
worthless. They have the fault which belongs to 
all books on behaviour, which are needless for those 
who do behave well and useless for those who do not. 
The powers of the pastor s success are truth and sym 
pathy together. " Speaking the truth in Love," ia 
the golden text to write in the book where you keep 


the names of your people, so that you may read it 
every time you go to visit them. Sympathy without 
truth makes a plausible pastor, but one whose hold 
on a parish soon grows weak. Men feel his touch 
upon them soft and tender, but never vigorous and 
strong. Truth without sympathy makes the sort of 
pastor whom people say that they respect but to 
whom they seldom go and whom they seldom care to 
see coming to them. But where the two unite, so far 
as the two unite in you, I think there will be nothing 
that will surprise you more than to discover how cer 
tain their power is. The man who has them cannot 
help saying the right word at the right time. You 
go to some poor crushed and broken heart ; you tell 
what truth you know, the truth of the ever ready and 
inexhaustible forgiveness, the truth of the unutter 
able love, the truth of the unbroken life of immortal 
ity ; and you let the sorrow for that heart s sorrow 
which you truly feel, utter itself in whatever true and 
simple ways it will ; then you come away sick at heart 
because you have so miserably failed ; but by and by 
you find that you have not failed, that you really did 
bring elevation and comfort. You cannot help doing 
it if you go with truth and sympathy. This is the 
constant experience of the minister. This is the 
ground of confidence and hope with which he presses 
on from year to year. 

I am inclined to think, as I have already intimated, 


that the trouble of much of our pastoral work is in 
its pettiness. It is pitched in too low a key. It tries 
to meet the misfortunes of life with comfort and not 
with inspiration, offering inducements to patience and 
the suggestions of compensation in this life or another 
which lies beyond, rather than imparting that higher 
and stronger tone which will make men despise their 
sorrows and bear them easily in their search for truth 
and nobleness, and the release that comes from for- 
getfulness of self and devotion to the needs of other 
people. The truest help which one can render to a 
man who has any of the inevitable burdens of life to 
carry is not to take his burden off but to call out his 
best strength that he may be able to bear it. The 
pastorship of Jesus is characterized everywhere by its 
frankness and manliness. He meets Nicodemus with 
a staggering assertion of the higher needs of the 
spirit. The man who wants the inheritance divided 
is encountered with a strong rebuke of his presump 
tuous selfishness. And Simon Peter has the assur 
ance of his forgiveness offered him in a demand for 
work. All three of these instances and many others 
are richly suggestive of contrasts with what many of 
the ministers of Christ would do in the same circum 
stances. It is the utter absence of sentimentality in 
Christ s relations with men that makes his tenderness 
so exquisitely touching. It is in the power, even in 
the effort, to awake the stronger nature of mankind 


that our modern pastorship is apt to be deficient. It 
ministers to women more than to men. It tries to 
soothe with consolation more than to fire with ambi 
tion or to sting with shame. 

Perhaps there will be no better place than this for 
me to say that it is in the absence of the heroic ele 
ment that our current Christianity most falls short ot 
the Christianity of Gospel times. We keep still the 
heroic language, but does it not often suggest strange 
incongruities ? Have not the pictures of some of our 
hymns, for instance, seemed sometimes strangely out 
of keeping with the lips that sang them ? A row of 
comfortable, self - contented, conservative gentlemen 
and ladies standing up, for instance, and singing 
" Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war," or 
" Hold the fort for I am coming, Jesus signals still," 
reminds us all the more of how unmilitary and un- 
heroic are the lives they live. It is not the mere 
difference of dress. I doubt not the Christians in the 
Catacombs, or the colliers who listened to Whitefield 
when he preached at Bristol, might have sung hymns 
that were built on the same imagery, and nothing in 
congruous would have been suggested. And yet they 
were as evidently men of peace as are our congrega 
tions. But they were conscious of and showed the 
true intenseness of spiritual warfare. They knew 
the fight within, the terrible reality of the enemy, 
the terrible suspense of the struggle, the glorious 


delight of triumph. No, it is the unheroic character 
of modern life and especially of modern Christianity. 
The life of Jesus Christ was radical. It went to the 
deep roots of things. It claimed men s noblest and 
freest action. We, if we are His ministers, must 
bring the heroic into the unheroic life of men, 
demanding of them truth, breadth, bravery, self- 
sacrifice, the freedom from conventionalities and an 
elevation to high standards of thought and life. We 
must bring men s life up to Him and not bring Him 
down to men s life. This is the Christian pastor s 
privilege and duty. 

It seems to me that a large part of the troubles and 
mistakes of our pastoral life come from our having 
too high an estimate of men s present condition and 
too low an estimate of their possibility. If this be 
true, then what we need to make us better pastors is 
more of the Gospel which reveals at once man s im 
perfect condition and his infinite hope. Jesus was 
the perfect pastor in the way in which He showed 
men what they were and what they might become. He 
never deceived and never discouraged them. The con 
tact with His perfect humanity brought them at 
once shame and hope. And when He comes near 
to us now, when His Spirit does His appointed work 
of taking Him and showing Him to us, the same 
power, combined of shame and hope, comes into our 
lives. Let that be the model of our pastorship. 


But to return more definitely to preaching. I think 
that one of the preliminary considerations about it 
one characteristic of it so prominent that we are sure 
that He who sent men out to preach must have de 
signed it is that which I have already once alluded 
to, the pleasure that belongs to it, the way in which 
it thoroughly interests the best parts of the man who 
does it. I remember, as I recur to it, how much I have 
already said about it, and may have yet to say ; but 
it is much upon my mind. For I think there is some 
thing unhappy in the frequency with which ministers 
dwell upon their work as if it were full of hardships 
and disappointments. Every power of man which 
has its natural and legitimate purpose brings two 
pleasures, one in the anticipation and attainment of 
its end, the other in its own exercise. There is a de 
light in exercising faculties as well as in doing work, 
and in all the best activities of men the two will go 
together. This is all true of preaching. Its highest 
joy is in the great ambition that is set before it, the 
glorifying of the Lord and the saving of the souls 
of men. No other joy on earth compares with that. 
The ministry that does not feel that joy is dead. But 
in behind that highest jcy, beating in humble unison 
with it, as the healthy body thrills in sympathy with 
the deep thoughts and pure desires of the mind and 
soul, the best ministries have always been conscious 
of another pleasure which belonged to the very doing 


of the work itself. As we read the lives of all the 
most effective preachers of the past, or as we meet 
the men who are powerful preachers of the Word to 
day, we feel how certainly and how deeply the very 
exercise of their ministry delights them. The best 
sermons always seem to carry the memory of the ex 
cited spring or quiet happiness, with which they are 
written or uttered. The soldier enjoys the battle as 
well as the victory. The carpenter enjoys the saw 
and plane as well as the prospect of the full-built 
house. When Wilberforce heard of Macaulay s first 
offer of a chance of public life, he was silent for a 
moment, and then his face lighted up and he clapped 
his hand to his ear and cried, " Ah, I hear that shout 
again. Hear ! Hear ! What a life it was ! " In the 
case of the preacher this secondary pleasure, if I may 
call it so, consists in the enjoyment of close relation 
ship with fellow-men and in the orator s delight in 
moving men. The fastidious man or the cold man 
loses a great deal of the stimulus and unfading fresh 
ness of the ministry. Sometimes this pleasure grows 
very keen. I always remember one special afternoon, 
years ago, when the light faded from the room where 
I was preaching and the faces melted together into a 
unit as of one impressive, pleading man, and I felt 
them listening when I could hardly see them ; I re 
member this accidental day as one of the times when 
the sense of the privilege of having to do with people 


as their preacher came out almoc overpoweringly. 
It is good to treasure all such enjoyment of the actual 
work of preaching. It bridges over the times when 
the higher enthusiasm flags, and it gives a deeper 
delight to it when it is strongest. 

I think that as we study the preaching of Jesus 
we admire above almost everything the way in which 
He was at once the Leader and the Brother of the 
men He taught. He spake as one having authority 
always, but always His power was brought near to 
men by the complete way in which He made Himself 
one of them, by the evident reality with which He 
bore their sins and carried their sorrows. So that by 
as much as the Son of God was above men in His 
nature, by so much the more He came near to them in 
his sympathies and was a truer Son of Man than any 
of the wonderfully human prophets of the Old Testa 
ment, Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, to whom the same 
name is constantly applied. Now when we compare 
the ordinary preacher s life with that of Jesus, I think 
we see how much more apt he is to have kept the 
position of leader than the position of brother of the 
people. At any rate, what we miss in a great deal of 
our preaching is that beautiful blending of the two 
whose power we recognize in the word and work of 
Jesus. We are the leaders of the people. Woe to 
our preaching if in any feeble, false humility we abdi 
cate that place. The people pass us by and pity us 


if they see us standing in our pulpits saying, " We 
know nothing particular about these things whereof 
we preach ; we have no authority ; only come here 
and we will tell you what we think, and you shall tell 
us what you think, and so perhaps together we can 
strike out a little light." That is not preaching. 
There has been pulpit talk like that, and men have 
always passed it by and hurried on to find some one 
who at least pretended to tell them the will of God. 
No, the preacher must be a leader, but his leadership 
must be bound in with his brotherhood. It was as 
Man that Christ led men to God. It must be as men 
that we carry on the work of Christ and help men s 
souls to Him. This truth seems to me to lie at the 
bottom of all the best successes, and the forgetfulness 
of it at the bottom of all the worst failures of the 
ministry. There is no real leadership of people for a 
preacher or a pastor except that which comes as the 
leadership of the Incarnation came, by a thorough 
entrance into the lot of those whom one would lead. 
And again, the limits of the preacher s leadership 
are very clear, and it is necessary that the young 
minister should know them. Sometimes a preacher 
finds himself and oftener still, some foolish friends 
by his side will make him think himself one of 
the wisest men, perhaps the wisest man in his small 
circle upon any of the ordinary topics of thought, 
upon art, or politics, or letters, or education. It is 


good for him to use his wisdom as it is for any 
other man. It is wrong for him to leave his wisdom 
unused as it is for any other man. He may do 
much good to the people, he may indirectly help 
his own peculiar mission by sharing his knowledge 
with them. One of the most interesting pages of 
clerical life of which I know is Norman Macleod s 
account of his lectures to the weavers at Newmilns, 
on geology. Would that more of us were able 
to follow his example. All that is well ; but we 
must know that there is nothing in our quality as 
preachers that gives us any claim to be authoritative 
guides to men in any of those things, neither in poli 
tics, nor in education, nor in science. On one thing 
only we may speak with authority, and that is the 
will of God. Nor even in the details of religious 
thought need we aspire to be their guides. I do not 
want and certainly I know that if I did want I never 
should be able to make the people who listen to me 
accept every view of Christian truth which I utter 
before them. I have no reason to believe that what 
I utter is clothed with an infallibility. In much of 
what one preaches he is satisfied if men take home 
what he says as the utterance of one who has thought 
upon the subject of which he speaks and wishes them 
to think and judge. Surely he does not declare to 
them his belief about the method of the atonement, 
with the same authority with which he bids them 


repent of sin, and warns them that without holiness 
no man shall see the Lord. Such line of difference 
every true preacher draws, and freely lets men see 
where it runs. If you attempt to claim authority for 
all your speculations you will end by losing it for 
your most sure and solemn declarations of God s will. 
One difficulty of the preacher s office is its subjec 
tion to flippant gossip, along with its exemption from 
severe and healthy criticism. There are people enough 
always to find out a minister s little faults, and let him 
hear of them ; but it is wonderful how he can go on 
year after year, without being once brought up to the 
judgment-seat of sound intelligence, and hearing what 
is the real worth of the words that he is saying, and 
the work that he is doing. There are plenty of people 
to do for him the office of the man whom Philip of 
Macedon kept in his service, to tell him every day 
before he gave audience, " Philip, remember thou art 
mortal," but hardly ever does he meet that sound and 
prompt investigation of his special work which comes 
to the author from his public, or the lawyer from his 
judge. This makes for many men the worst possible 
condition to labor in a constant fretting by small 
cavils, and no large estimation of the whole. It is 
like standing in a desultory dropping fire without 
being allowed to plunge into the battle, and settle at 
once the question of life or death. It makes supremely 
essential to the minister that independence of men s 


judgments which can only come by the most absolute 
dependence on the judgment of the Lord by living 
" ever in the great Taskmaster s eye." 

I should have liked to speak of one other danger of 
the preacher from his work. It is that which comes 
from the paralysis of great ideas. There are times 
when the vast thoughts of God stimulate us to action. 
There are other times when they seem to take all 
power of action out of us. These last times grow 
very frequent with some men, till you have the race 
of clerical visionaries who think vast, dim, vague 
thoughts, and do no work. It is a danger of all 
ardent minds. The only salvation, if one finds himself 
verging to it, is an unsparing rule that no idea, how 
ever abstract, shall be ever counted as satisfactorily 
received and grasped till it has opened to us its 
practical side and helped us somehow in our work. 
The spirit of practicalness is the consecration of the 
whole man, even the most ideal and visionary parts 
of him, to the work of life. 

With regard to the second point of which I spoke, 
the methods of the preacher s work, there are two diffi 
culties which beset us : one is the absence of method, 
and the other is the tendency to wrong methods. Let 
me say a few words to you on each of these. 

There is a certain air of spontaneousness, a certain 


dislike of rule and system which belongs to a great 
many ministers fundamental conception of the work 
of preaching. Eightly studied and weighed, no 
doubt, the teachings of Christ and of the whole 
New Testament all look one way. They all involve 
the simple truth that he who works for God must 
work with his best powers; and since among the 
effective powers of man the powers of plan and 
arrangement stand very high, the whole of the New 
Testament really implies that he who preaches must 
lay out the methods and ways of preaching, as a mer 
chant or a soldier lays out a campaign of the market 
or the battle-field. But at the same time there are 
many passages in the New Testament which seem to 
have in them something like a promise of immediate 
inspiration. Christ bids His disciples : " Settle it, 
therefore, in your hearts not to meditate before what 
ye shall answer. For I will give you a mouth and 
wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able 
to gainsay nor resist." These words, and others like 
them, were spoken indeed to certain disciples, and in 
view of certain special emergencies of their life ; but, 
with our vague unscientific notions about inspiration, 
they have been easily appropriated by many a poor 
uninspired creature who has found himself the sub 
ject of ordination ; and a general impression of the 
piety of extemporaneousness has spread more widely 


and reached more thoughtful and intelligent men than 
we suppose. I think, too, that the revolt of Protestant 
ism against the minute and overstrained organization 
of the Eomish Church has had very much to do with 
the creation of that distrust of methodicalness which 
prevails so largely among preachers. However it has 
come about, the fact is clear enough. Look at the 
way in which the pulpit teaches. I venture to say 
that there is nothing so unreasonable in any other 
branch of teaching. You are a minister, and you are 
to instruct these people in the truths of God, to bring 
God s message to them. All the vast range of God s 
revelation and of man s duty is open to you. And 
how do you proceed ? If you are like most ministers 
there is no order, no progress, no consecutive purpose 
in your teaching. You never begin at the beginning 
and proceed step by step to the end of any course of 
orderly instruction. You float over the whole sea of 
truth, and plunge here and there, like a gull, on any 
subject that either suits your mood, or that some 
casual and superficial intercourse with people makes 
you conceive to be required by a popular need. No 
other instruction ever was given so. No hearer has 
the least idea, as he goes to your church, what you 
will preach to him about that day. It is hopeless for 
him to try to get ready for your teaching. I am sure 
that I may say (I suppose that this is partly the 
reason why as an Episcopalian I have been asked to 


lecture here) that I rejoice to see in many churches 
outside our own that to which we owe so much as a 
help to the orderliness of preaching, the observance 
of a Church year with its commemorative festivals, 
growing so largely common. It still leaves largest 
liberty. It is no bondage within which any man is 
hampered. But the great procession of the year, 
sacred to our best human instincts with the accumu 
lated reverence of ages, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, 
Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, Whitsunday, leads 
those who walk in it, at least once every year, past 
all the great Christian facts, and, however careless 
and selfish be the preacher, will not leave it in his 
power to keep them from his people. The Church 
year, too, preserves the personality of our religion. 
It is concrete and picturesque. The historical Jesus 
is for ever there. It lays each life continually down 
beside the perfect life, that it may see at once its 
imperfection and its hope. 

But not to dwell any longer on this special instance, 
the order and course of preaching, the same absence 
of method is apt to show itself everywhere in a 
preacher s life. Besides the reasons for it which I 
have already suggested, it comes from a feeble sense 
of responsibility. The mental and the moral natures 
have closer connections than very often we allow 
them, and traits which we think wholly intellectual 
are constantly revealing to us moral bases upon 


which they rest. We talk of clearness, for instance, 
as if it were purely a quality of style, but clearness in 
every speech addressed to men comes out of sym 
pathy, which is a moral quality. So force implies 
conviction. And so the truest method involves con 
scientiousness. The intellectual and the spiritual 
belong together. Logical arrangement of thought haa 
real connection with a sincere desire to do right. The 
more you mean to do all the right, the more clearly 
your whole thinking processes will dispose themselves, 
and then, by the law of reaction, your orderly think 
ing will make it easier for you to do right. That 
which all men ought to remember, it behoves the 
minister more than all men not to forget, how closely 
the mental and moral natures are bound together in 
their characters and destinies. 

On this high ground, and on a ground that perhaps 
is lower but still is sound, I urge upon you the 
need of method and order in your life and work. Do 
not be tempted by the fascination of spontaneousness. 
Do not be misled by any delusion of inspiration. 
The lower ground is the support which well-con 
sidered and settled methods of operation give to the 
higher powers in their weaker moments. No one 
dreads mechanical woodenness in the ministry more 
than I do. And yet a strong wooden structure run 
ning through your work, a set of well-framed and 
well-jointed habits about times and ways of work. 


writing, studying, intercourse with people, the admin 
istration of charity and education, and the propor 
tions between the different departments of clerical 
labor, is again and again the bridge over which the 
minister walks where the solid ground of higher 
motive fails him for a time. Eoutine is a terrible 
master, but she is a servant whom we can hardly do 
without. Eoutine as a law is deadly. Eoutine as a 
resource in the temporary exhaustion of impulse and 
suggestion is often our salvation. Coleridge told the 
story when he sang, 

"There will come a weary day 
When, overtaxed at length, 
Both hope and love beneath 
The weight give way. 
Then witli a statue s smile, 
A statue s strength, 
Patience, nothing loth, 
And uncomplaining, does 
The work of both." 

But patience, while a strong power, is not quick- 
sighted, and works in ways and habits which have 
been made before. 

Of mistakes of method as distinguished from absence 
of method in the ministry, experience has seemed to 
me to show that there is one comprehensive head un 
der which a wonderfully large proportion of them all 
may be included. It is the passion for expedients. I 
know of no department of human activity, from the 


governing of a great nation to the doctoring of a little 
body, where the disposition is not constantly appear 
ing to invent some sudden method or to seek some 


magical and concise prescription which shall obviate 
the need of careful, comprehensive study and long- 
continued application. But this disposition is no 
where so strong, I think, as in the ministry. The 
bringing of truth, of Christ the Truth, to man, of the 
whole Christ to the whole man, you can think of no 
work larger in its idea than that. And evidently its 
methods must be as manifold as are the natures with 
which it deals. But we are constantly meeting people 
who seem to have epitomized all the needs of the 
Church, all the requirements of the successful minis 
ter, into some one expedient, some panacea which, if 
it could only be applied, would overcome every ob 
stacle and bring on at once the perfect day of preach 
ing. These expedients are things good in them 
selves, making no doubt some very useful part of the 
great whole ; but when they are magnified into soli 
tary importance and offered as solutions of the diffi 
culties that beset the Gospel, they are ludicrously in 
sufficient. Many a young minister to-day is staking 
his whole ministry on some one such idea. He at 
tributes every defect to the imperfect apprehension 
of that idea in his community. He hopes for every 
good as that idea comes to be completely realized. 
He can expect no good without it. He can hardly 


conceive of any evil in connection with it. Perhaps 
his favorite idea is free churches ; a good idea indeed, 
an idea without which there could have been no 
Christian church at all ; an idea which beyond all 
doubt does represent the standard of Christianity, 
and to which Christian practice must some day re 
turn ; but by no means the only idea of worship, nor 
suggesting by any means the only or the principal 
difficulty in the way of spreading the Gospel. You 
might break down every pew door and abolish every 
pew tax and yet wait to see your churches and the 
kingdom of God fill themselves full in vain. An 
other s consuming thought is congregational singing. 
As you listen to him rushing hither and thither 
shouting the praises of his favorite method and deal 
ing dreadful blows at the four-headed Cerberus which 
he detests, you are almost ready to believe that if all 
the people only could lift up their voices and sing the 
walls of wickedness must tumble into dust. It is a 
good and healthy agitation. It is well that we should 
break through the tyranny of old methods and really 
sing the praises of the Lord. But it is not going to 
do the work of casting out sin and winning righteous 
ness. When the army goes into battle the bands 
must play, but they do not lead the host. And so it 
is again with the hobby of inter-denominational inter 
course, of Christian union. It is well, and I would 
that we had more of it. But, to borrow the army 


simile again, no courtesies between two regiments 
ever yet defeated the other army. And so of the 
church sociable which tries to entice the passer-by to 
the altar of the Lord with the familiar but feeble odor 
of a cup of tea. And so with the children s church ; 
one of the best and purest of the Church s inventions 
for her work, but by no means enough to make a 
special and peculiar feature of in any congregation. 
It almost always weakens the preacher for his preach 
ing to adults. There is nothing so insignificant that 
some petty minister will not make it the Christian 
panacea. A young pastor said to me once, " Wher 
ever else I fail, there is one point in which my minis 
try will be a success." " And what is that ? " said I, 
expecting something sweet and spiritual. " In print 
ing," he replied. He had devoted himself to setting 
forth elaborate advertisements, and orders of services, 
and Sunday-school reward cards, and most compli 
cated parish records, and I suppose his parish is 
strewn thick with those thick-falling leaves unto this 
day. No ! The clerical or parish hobby is either the 
fancy of a man who has failed to apprehend the great 
work of the Gospel, or the refuge of a man who has 
failed to do it. Its evils are endless. It makes a 
fantastic Christianity. It keeps us battering at one 
point in the long citadel of sin and lets the enemy 
safely concentrate all his force there to protect it. It 
robs us of all power of large appeal and confines the 


truth which we preach to some small class of people. 
It makes us exalt the means above the end, till we 
come to count the means precious, whether it attain 
the end or not. That is the death which many a 
parish life has died. As George Herbert has it, 

" What wretchedness can give him any room 
Whose house is foul while he adores his broom 1 " 

But finally, and worst of all, the passion for expedi 
ents and panaceas narrows our standards of Christian 
life, and gives us false tests of what are Christians. 
It is possible to come to think that there can be no 
conversion in a rented pew ; and that God will not 
hear the music of a choir, however devoutly it bears 
the praises of the people up to Him. Beware of hob 
bies. Fasten yourself to the centre of your ministry ; 
not to some point on its circumference. The circum 
ference must move when the centre moves. 

The escape from the slavery of expedients is not in 
finding each one insufficient, and so changing it for 
another. The escape from despotism is never in a 
mere change of despots. Some men s ministry has 
been occupied all through in the substitution of 
hobby for hobby year after year. Their history is 
made up of the record of the dynasties of successive 
expedients, following each other like the later Emper 
ors, each murdering his predecessor and murdered in 
his turn. The escape must come in a larger human 


life for the minister. He must come into larger 
knowledge of men, and be in the truest and best 
sense a man of the world. He must get out of the 
merely ecclesiastical spirit ; that is, he must cease 
to think of the Church as a petty institution, to be 
carried on by fantastic methods of its own. It must 
seem to him what it is, the type and pattern of what 
humanity ought to be, so to be kept large enough 
that any man, coming from any exile where the 
homesickness of his heart has been awakened, may 
find his true and native place awaiting him. The 
preacher then will know all kinds of men, keeping his 
life large enough to enter into sympathy with them. 
Let me make one special remark upon this head. 
Apart from its incidental advantage, to his style and 
manner, I think it is good for a minister to do some 
work besides clerical work, and to write something 
besides sermons. But he must do it as a minister. 
And the proof of how large is his vocation, is that he 
can do it and yet be a minister in it all. He can 
write books, and yet be not a literary man but a min 
ister. He can help the government, and yet be not a 
politician but a minister. There are bad ways, but 
there are also good ways in which a clergyman may 
carry his clerical character with him wherever he 
goes. It may be to your discredit, or to your credit, 
that strangers say of you, " I should know he was a 
minister." For the best minister is simply the fullest 


maru You cannot separate him from his manhood. 
Voltaire said of Louis XIV., " He was not one of the 
greatest men but certainly one of the greatest kings 
that ever lived." It would not be possible to say that 
of any minister. He who was one of the greatest of 
ministers must be one of the greatest of men. 

The faults of a minister s method are apt to be of 
the simplest sort ; as his virtues are of no intricate or 
complicated kind, but the primary virtues of human 
ity. I cannot then pass by what, after all, has seemed 
to me to lie at the bottom of a very large part of the 
clerical failures and half-successes which I have wit 
nessed. What is called a " success " in the ministry 
is, indeed, a curious sort of phenomenon, very hard 
to analyze. It is half clay, half gold. It is half 
secular and half religious, and the two halves are 
mingled so that it is impossible to separate them. 
There is too much of religious feeling in our com 
munities to call a minister successful unless he seems 
to be doing a really spiritual work, and on the other 
hand there is too steady a watch kept upon economi 
cal considerations, to give the praise of success to 
mere spiritual devotion, unless it carries with it the 
signs of material prosperity. The " successful minis 
ter" is a being of such mingled qualities that he 
leaves open room enough for many men who are not 
called successful, to be thoroughly good and nobly 
useful and very happy. But still this standard of 


success has its advantages. It is intelligible. And 
it brings at once forward the simplest of all causes of 
failure, and shows it to be the same that brings fail 
ure in every department of life. That cause is mere 
unfaithfulness, the fact of men s not doing their best 
with the powers that God has given them. I think 
that it is hard to believe how common this trouble, 
underlying all troubles, is in the minister s life. I 
want to urge it upon you very earnestly. You watch 
the career of some man who does not seem to succeed. 
You know his piety ; you recognize his intelligence ; 
you make all kinds of elaborate theories about what 
there is in his peculiar character that unfits him for 
effectiveness ; you dwell on his fastidiousness, his re 
serve, the wonderful sensitiveness of his nature. You 
picture him to yourself writing exquisite sermons, full 
of thought, which the people are too coarse to compre 
hend. And then, with this picture of him in your 
mind, you come to know the habits of his life, and 
all your fine-spun pity scatters as you learn that, 
whatever other hindrances there may be, the hin 
drance that lies uppermost of all is that the man is 
not doing his best. His work is at loose ends ; he 
treats his people with a neglect with which no doctor 
could treat his patients and no lawyer his clients ; and 
he writes his sermons on Saturday nights. That last 
I count the crowning disgrace of a man s ministry. It 
is dishonest. It is giving but the last flicker of the 


week as it sinks in its socket, to those who, simply to 
talk about it as a bargain, have paid for the full light 
burning at its brightest. And yet men boast of it. 
They tell you in how short time they write their 
sermons, and when you hear them preach you only 
wonder that it took so long. Ah ! my friends, it is 
wonderful what a central power is the moral law. 
The primary fact of duty lies at the core of every 
thing. Operations which we think have no moral 
character, move by the power which is coiled up in 
that spring. Derange it in any man, and his taste 
becomes corrupted, and his intellect suffers distortion. 
The first necessity for the preacher and the hod-carrier 
is the same. Be faithful, and do your best always for 
every congregation, and on every occasion. 1 

A very curious study in human nature is the way 

1 An unknown friend has called my attention to these good 
words of Cotton Mather, since this lecture was delivered. They 
are from the Ratio Disciplince, pp. 59 and 60. 

"If churches hear of ministers boasting that they have been 
in their studies only a few hours on Saturday, or so, they reckon 
that such persons rather glory in their shame. 

" Sudden sermons they may sometimes admire from their 
accomplished ministers, when the suddenness has not been a 
chosen circumstance. But as one of old, when it was objected 
against his public speeches (in matters of less moment than the 
salvation of souls), replied, I should blush at the incivility of 
treating so great and wise a people with anything but what 
shall be studied ; BO the best ministers of New England ordi 
narily would blush to address their flocks without premedi 


in which the moral sense sometimes suffers in connec 
tion with the highest spiritual experiences. A man 
who will cheat nowhere else will be a hypocrite in 
religion. A man who really wants to convert his 
brethren will sometimes try to do it by preaching 
other people s sermons as if they were his own. It is 
partly, I suppose, the vague sense of elevation which 
seems to have somewhat enfeebled the hold of the or 
dinary morality upon a man, as the earth s gravita 
tion weakens for him who mounts among the stars. 
And in some men it is that demoralization which 
comes from feeling themselves in a place for which 
they are not fit, burdened with duties for which they 
have no capacity. And that, in political, or commer 
cial, or clerical life, is the most demoralizing con 
sciousness that a man can feel. 

This question of faithfulness touches, I believe, al 
most all the difficulties in the way of constraint or dic 
tation which a minister meets with from his people. 
I am apt to believe that almost all the troubles be 
tween ministers and parishes are from the minister s 
folly if not from his fault. Not that there is not 
often enough blame upon the other side. But it 
seems to me reasonable that the minister, having an 
intenser and more concentrated interest in his parish 
than any layman has, should have that measure of 
control which, wisely used, might hinder almost any 
trouble before it grew vigorous enough to enlist the 


angry interest of the people whose lives are largely 
occupied with other things. There are such things 
as parish quarrels. If I am right, my friends, you 
will never have one in your parish which you might 
not have prevented, and never come out of one with 
out injury to your character and your Master s cause. 
It is wonderful to me with what freedom a minister 
is left to do his work in his own way, if only his 
people believe in his scrupulous faithfulness. Take, 
for instance, the matter of preaching old sermons. It 
is not good. A new sermon, fresh from the brain, 
has always a life in it which an old sermon, though 
better in itself, must lack. The trouble is in the 
prominence of that personal element in preaching of 
which I spoke in my first lecture. You may take the 
sermon off the shelf, and when you have brushed the 
dust off the cover it is the same sermon that you 
preached on that memorable day when you were all 
afire with your new line of study or with the spiritual 
zeal that was burning about you. You may repro 
duce the paper but you cannot reproduce the man, 
and the sermon was man and paper together. No, I 
would make as rare as possible the preaching of the 
same sermon to the same people. But what I wanted 
to say was this, that the main objection which the 
people have to the preaching of old sermons is in the 
impression that it gives them of unfaithfulness and 
idleness. Let a minister s whole life make any such 


suspicion impossible and there is no complaint. The 
minister in whose faithfulness his people believe may 
use his own discretion. He must not play any tricks. 
He must not put old sermons to new texts. To put 
new sermons to old texts is better. But he may use 
his judgment, and those sermons, of which there is 
a certain class, which do not lose but rather gain by 
repetition, he may repreach again and again till they 
grow to be to people like their most cherished hymns 
or passages from some long-loved book of devotion. 

One of the most remarkable things about the 
preacher s methods of work is the way in which they 
form themselves in the earliest years of his ministry, 
and then rule him with almost despotic power to the 
end. I am a slave to-day, and so I suppose is every 
minister, to ways of work that were made within two 
or three years after beginning to preach. The new 
ness of the occupation, that unexpectedness of every 
thing to which I alluded when I began to speak to 
you this afternoon, opens all the life, and makes it 
receptive ; and then the earnestness and fresh en 
thusiasm of those days serves to set the habits that a 
man makes them, to clothe them with something that 
is almost sacredness, and to make them practically 
almost unchangeable. They are the years when a 
preacher needs to be very watchful over his discretion 
and his independence. When the clay is in the bank, 
it matters not so much who treads on it. And when 
the clay is hardened in the vase, it may press close 


upon another vase and yet keep its own shape. But 
when the clay is just setting, and the shape still soft, 
then is the time to guard it from the blows or pres 
sures that would distort it for ever. Be sure, then, 
that the habits and methods of your opening ministry 
are, first of all, your own. Let no respect, however 
profound or merited, for any hero of the pulpit make 
you submit yourself to him. Let your own nature 
freely shape its own ways. Only be sure that those 
ways do really come out of your own nature, and not 
out of the merely accidental circumstances of your 
first parish. And let them be intelligent, not merely 
such as you happen into, but such as you can give 
good reasons for. And let them be noble, framed 
with reference to the large ideal and most sacred pur 
poses of your work, not with reference to its minute 
conveniences. And let them be broad enough to give 
you room to grow. It is with ideas and methods of 
work as it is with houses. To remove from one to 
another is wasteful and dispiriting ; but to find the 
one in which we have taken up our abode unfold 
ing new capacity to accommodate our growing mental 
family, is satisfactory and encouraging. It gives us 
the sense at once of settlement and progress. He is 
the happiest and most effective old man whose life 
has been full of growth, but free from revolution ; 
who is living still in the same thoughts and habits 
which he had when a boy, but has found them as the 
Hebrews say that the Israelites found their clothes in 


the desert during the forty years, not merely nevei 
waxing old upon them, but growing with their growth 
as they passed on from youth to manhood. 

I hope that I shall not have disappointed your ex 
pectation in what I have said about the preacher s 
methods by dwelling so largely upon principles, and 
going so little into details. It would be easy enough 
for any minister to amuse himself, and perhaps 
amuse you, by recitations from his diary. But it 
would not be good. I want to make you know two 
things : first, that if your ministry is to be good for 
anything, it must be your ministry, and not a feeble 
echo of any other man s ; and, second, that the Chris 
tian ministry is not the mere practice of a set of 
rules and precedents, but is a broad, free, fresh meet 
ing of a man with men, in such close contact that the 
Christ who has entered into his life may, through his, 
enter into theirs. 

I have but a few words to add upon the spirit in 
which the preacher does his best work. After what I 
have been saying, my points will need no elaboration. 
Forgive me if I venture to put them in the simplest 
and strongest imperatives I can command. 

First, count and rejoice to count yourself the 
servant of the people to whom you minister. Not in 
any worn-out figure but in very truth, call yourself 
and be their servant. 

Second, never allow yourself to feel equal to your 


work. If you ever find that spirit growing on you, 
be afraid, and instantly attack your hardest piece of 
work, try to convert your toughest infidel, try to 
preach on your most exacting theme, to show your 
self how unequal to it all you are. 

Third, be profoundly honest. Never dare to say in 
the pulpit or in private, through ardent excitement or 
conformity to what you know you are expected to 
say, one word which at the moment when you say it, 
you do not believe. It would cut down the range of 
what you say, perhaps, but it would endow every 
word that was left with the force of ten. 

And last of all, be vital, be alive, not dead. Do 
everything that can keep your vitality at its fullest. 
Even the physical vitality do not dare to disregard. 
One of the most striking preachers of our country 
seems to me to have a large part of his power simply 
in his physique, in the impression of vitality, in 
the magnetism almost like a material thing, that 
passes between him and the people who sit before 
him. Pray for and work for fulness of life above 
everything ; full red blood in the body ; full honesty 
and truth in the mind ; and the fulness of a grateful 
love for the Saviour in your heart. Then, however 
men set their mark of failure or success upon your 
ministry, you cannot fail, you must succeed. 


T HAVE dwelt long upon the preacher and his 
-*- character because he is essential to the sermon. 
He cannot throw a sermon forth into the world as an 
author can his book, as an artist can his statue, and 
let it live thenceforth a life wholly independent of 
himself. That is the reason why sermons are not ordi 
narily interesting reading. At least that is one of the 
reasons. Now and then you do find a volume of 
sermons which, as it were, keep their author in them, 
so that as you read them you feel him present in the 
room. But, ordinarily, reading sermons is like listen 
ing to an echo. The words are there, but the personal 
intonation is gone out of them and there is an 
unreality about it all. Now and then you find 
sermons which do not suggest their ever having been 
preached and they give you none of this feeling. 
But they were not good sermons, scarcely even real 
sermons, when they were preached. In general it is 
true that the sermon which is good to preach is poor 
to read and the sermon which is good to read is poor 



to preach. There are exceptions, but this is generally 

Whatever is in the sermon must be in the preacher 
first ; clearness, logicalness, vivacity, earnestness, 
sweetness, and light must be personal qualities in 
him before they are qualities of thought and lan 
guage in what he utters to his people. If you have 
your artist you have only to supply your marble 
and chisel with the mere technical skill, and you have 
your statue. If you have your preacher very little 
more is needed to set free the sermon which is in him. 
In this lecture and the next I want to speak about the 
sermon. I make a division which will not be very 
precise, but may be of some service ; and shall speak 
to-day more of the sermon in its general purpose 
and idea, and next Thursday more of the make and 
method of the sermon. 

It seems to me, then, that at the very outset the defi 
nite and immediate purpose which a sermon has set 
before it makes it impossible to consider it as a work 
of art, and every attempt to consider it so works in 
jury to the purpose for which the sermon was created. 
Many of the ineffective sermons that are made owe 
their failure to a blind and fruitless effort to produce 
something which shall be a work of art, conforming 
to some type or pattern which is not clearly under 
stood but is supposed to be essential and eternal. 
But the unreasonableness of this appears the moment 


that we think of it. A sermon exists in and for its 
purpose. That purpose is the persuading and mov 
ing of men s souls. That purpose must never be lost 
sight of. If it ever is, the sermon flags. It is not always 
on the surface ; not always impetuous and eager in the 
discourses of the settled pastor as it is in the appeals of 
the Evangelist who speaks this once and this once only 
to the men he sees before him. The sermon of the 
habitual preacher grows more sober, but it never can 
lose out of it this consciousness of a purpose ; it never 
can justify itself in any self-indulgence that will hinder 
or delay that purpose. It is always aimed at men. 
It is always looking in their faces to see how they are 
moved. It knows no essential and eternal type, but 
its law for what it ought to be comes from the needs 
and fickle changes of the men for whom it lives. Now 
this is thoroughly inartistic. Art contemplates and 
serves the absolute beauty. The simple work of art 
is the pure utterance of beautiful thought in beauti 
ful form without further purpose than simply that it 
should be uttered. The poem or the statue may in 
struct, inspire, and rebuke men, but that design, if it 
were present in the making of the poem or the statue, 
vitiated the purity of its artistic quality. Art knows 
nothing of the tumultuous eagerness of earnest pur 
pose. She is supremely calm and independent of the 
whims of men. Phidias cast among a barbarous race 
must carve not some hideous idol which shall stir 


their coarse blood by its frantic extravagance, but the 
same serene and lofty beauty of Athene which he 
would carve at Athens. If it wholly fails to reach 
their gross and blunted senses, that is no disgrace to 
it as a work of art, for the artistic and the didactic 
are separate from one another. 

And yet we find a constant tendency in the history 
of preaching to treat the sermon as a work of art. It 
is spoken of as if it were something which had a value 
in itself. We hear of beautiful sermons, as if they 
existed solely on the ground that " beauty is its own 
excuse for being." The age of the great French 
preachers, the age of Louis XIV. with its sermons 
preached in the salons of critical and sceptical noble 
men, and of ladies who offered to their friends the en 
tertainment of the last discovered preacher, was full 
of this false idea of the sermon as a work of art. 
And the soberer Englishman, whether he be the Puri 
tan praising the painful exposition to which he has 
just listened, or the Churchman delighting in the pol 
ished periods of Tillotson or South, has his own way 
of falling into the same heresy. I think it does us 
good to go back to the simple sermons of the New Tes 
tament. I do not speak of the perfect discourses of 
our Lord, though in them we should find the strong 
est confirmation of what I am now saying : but take 
the sermons of St. Peter, of St. Stephen, of St. Paul, 
and from them come down to the sermons which have 


been great as sermons ever since. Through all their 
variety you find this one thing constantly true about 
them : they were all valuable solely for the work they 
could accomplish. They were tools, and not works of 
art. To turn a tool into a work of art, to elaborate 
the shape and chase the surface of the axe with which 
you are to hew your wood, is bad taste ; and to give 
any impression in a sermon that it has forgotten its 
purpose and been shaped for anything else than what 
in the largest extent of those great words might be 
described as saving souls, makes it offensive to a truly 
good taste and dull to the average man, who feels an 
incongruity which he cannot define. The power of 
the sermons of the Paulist fathers in the Romish 
Church and of Mr. Moody in Protestantism lies sim 
ply here : in the clear and undisturbed presence of 
their purpose ; and many ministers who never dream 
of such a thing, who think that they are preaching 
purely for the good of souls, are losing the power out 
of their sermons because they are trying, even with 
out knowing it, to make them not only sermons, but 
works of art. There was an old word which I think 
has ceased to be used. Men used to talk of " sermon 
izing." They said that some good preacher was " a 
fine sermonizer." The word contained just this vice : 
it made the sermon an achievement, to be attempted 
and enjoyed for itself apart from anything that it 


could do, like a picture or an oratorio, like the Venus 
of Milo or the Midsummer-Night s Dream. 

And here lies the truth concerning the way in 
which really high truth and careful thought may be 
brought to a congregation. We hear a good deal 
about preaching over people s heads. There is such 
a thing. But generally it is not the character of the 
ammunition, but the fault of aim, that makes the 
missing shot. There is nothing worse for a preacher 
than to come to think that he must preach down to 
people ; that they cannot take the very best he has to 
give. He grows to despise his own sermons, and the 
people quickly learn to sympathize with their minis 
ter. The people will get the heart out of the most 
thorough and thoughtful sermon, if only it really is a 
sermon. Even subtlety of thought, the tracing of in 
tricate relations of ideas, it is remarkable how men 
of no subtle thought will follow it, if it ia really 
preached. But subtlety which has delighted in itself, 
which has spun itself fine for its own pleasure in see 
ing how fine it could be spun, vexes and throws them 
off ; and they are right. Never be afraid to call upon 
your people to follow your best thought, if only it is 
really trying to lead them somewhere. The confi 
dence of the minister in the people is at the bottom 
of every confidence of the people in the minister. 

What I have been saying bears also on what we 


hear, every now and then, from the days of the 
" Spectator " down, the expression of a wish that 
moderate ministers, instead of giving people their 
own moderate thought, would recur to the good 
work which has been already done, and read some 
sermon of one of the great masters. There too, there 
is the " sermonizing " idea. The real sermon idea is 
lost. Such a practice corning into vogue would 
speedily destroy the pulpit s power. Not merely 
would it be a confession of incapacity, but the idea 
of speech, of present address for a present purpose, 
would disappear. I do not think we could anticipate 
any continual interest, scarcely any perpetual exist 
ence for the preaching work in case such an idea 
became prevalent and accepted. 

The first good consequence of the emphatic state 
ment that a sermon is to be considered solely with 
reference to its proper purposes will be in a new and 
larger freedom for the preacher. We make the idea 
of a sermon too specific, wishing to conform it to 
some preestablished type of what a sermon ought to 
be. There is nothing which a sermon ought to be ex 
cept a fit medium of truth to men. There is no model 
of a sermon so strange and novel, so different from 
every pattern upon which sermons have been shaped 
before, that if it became evident to you that that was 
the form through which the message which you had 
to tell would best reach the men to whom you had to 


tell it, it would not be your right, nay, be your duty 
to preach your truth in that new form. I grant that 
the accepted forms of preaching were shaped origin 
ally by a desire of utility, and only gradually as 
sumed a secondary value and importance for their 
own sakes. That is the way in which every such 
superstitious value of anything originates. I grant, 
therefore, that the young preacher may well feel that 
a certain presumption of advantage belongs to those 
types of sermons which he finds in use. He will not 
wantonly depart from them. I am sure that all 
hearers of sermons will say: "Better the most abject 
conformity to rule than departure from rule for the 
mere sake of departure. Better the stiff movements 
of imitation than the fantastic gestures of deliberate 
originality." But what I plead for is, that in all 
your desire to create good sermons you should think 
no sermon good that does not do its work. Let the 
end for which you preach play freely in and modify 
the form of your preaching. He who is original for 
the sake of originality is as much governed by the 
type from which he departs as is another man who 
slavishly conforms to it ; but he who freely uses the 
types which he finds, and yet compels them always to 
bend to the purposes for which he uses them, he is 
their true master, and not their slave. Such original 
ity as that alone at once secures the best effectiveness 
of the preacher, and advances at the same time the 


general type aiid idea of the sermon, preserving it 
from monotony and making it better and better from 
age to age. 

Now let me turn to some of those questions 
affecting the general idea of what a sermon ought 
to be, which are continually recurring, and say a 
few words on each. 

One of the most interesting of those questions, 
which appears in many forms, arises from the necessity 
of which I have already so much spoken, of mingling 
the elements of personal influence and abstract truth 
to make the perfect sermon. There are some sermons 
in which the preacher does not appear at all ; there 
are other sermons in which he is offensively and 
crudely prominent; there are still other sermons where 
he is hidden and yet felt, the force of his personal 
conviction and earnest love being poured through 
the arguments which he uses, and the promises 
which he holds out. Of the second class of sermons, 
in which the minister s personality is offensively 
prominent, the most striking instance is what seems 
to me to have become rather common of late, and 
what I may call the autobiographical style of preach 
ing. There are some preachers to whom one might 
listen for a year, and then he could write their bio 
graphy, if it were worth the doing. Every truth 
they wish to teach is illustrated by some event in 
their own history. Every change of character which 


they wish to urge is set forth under the form in which 
that change took place in them. The story of how 
they were converted becomes as familiar to their con 
gregation as the story of the conversion of St. Paul. 
It is the crudest attempt to blend personality and 
truth. They are not fused with one another, but only 
tied together. It has a certain power. It is wonder 
ful how interesting almost any man becomes if he 
talks frankly about himself. You cannot help listen 
ing to the garrulous unfolding of his history. And 
in the pulpit no doubt it gives a certain vividness, 
when a popular preacher whose people are already in 
terested in, and curious about his personality, after 
enforcing some argument, suddenly turns, and in 
stead of saying, after the pulpit manner, " But the 
objector will reply," briskly breaks out with, " Last 
Monday afternoon a man came into my study," or 
" A man met me in the street and said, Mr. this or 
that " (using his own name), " what do you make of 
this objection ? " It gives a clear concreteness to 
the whole, and feeds that curiosity about each other s 
ways of living out of which all our gossip grows. 

The evils of the habit are evident enough. Not to 
speak of its oppressiveness to the best taste, nor of the 
way in which its power dies out, as the much-paraded 
person of the minister grows familiar and unimpos- 
ing, it certainly must have a tendency to narrow the 
suggested range of Christian truth and experience. 


In parishes where such strong prominence belongs to 
the preacher s personality, where the people are always 
hearing of how he learned this truth or passed 
through that emotion, all apprehension of thought 
and realization of experience narrows itself. It is 
expected in just that way which has been so often 
and so vividly pictured. It is distrusted if it comes 
in other forms. The rich variety and largeness of 
the Christian life is lost. There are some parishes 
which, in the course of a long pastorate, have become 
but the colossal repetition of their minister s person 
ality. They are the form of his experience seen 
through a mist, grown large in size but vague and 
dim in outline. Every parishioner is a weakened 
repetition of the minister s ideas and ways. I think 
that what a minister learns to rejoice in more and 
more is the endless difference of that Christian life, 
which is yet always the same. It shows him the pos 
sibility of a Christianity as universal as humanity, a 
Christianity in which the diversity and unity of hu- 
manity might both be kept. And any undue promi 
nence of himself in his teaching loses the largeness 
on which the hope of this variety in unity depends. 

There is something better than this. There is a 
fine and subtle infusion of a man into his work, which 
achieves what this crude fastening of the two together 
attempts, but fails to accomplish. Take, for instance, 
the sermons of Robertson. You will know, from 


allusions to them which I have already made, that I 
sympathize very fully with that high estimate which 
such multitudes of people have set upon those re 
markable discourses. I think that in all the best 
qualities of preaching they stand supreme among the 
sermons of our time. And one of the most remark 
able things about them is the way in which the per 
sonal force of the preacher, and the essential power 
of the truth, are blended into one strong impressive- 
ness. The personality never muddies the thought, 
I do not remember one allusion to his own history, 
one anecdote of his own life ; but they are his ser 
mons. The thought is stronger for us because he has 
thought it, The feeling is more vivid because he has 
felt it. And always he leads us to God by a way 
along which he has gone himself. It is interesting 
to read along with the sermons the story of his life, 
to see what he was passing through at the date when 
this sermon or that was preached, and to watch, as 
you often may, without any suspicion of mere fanci- 
fulness, how the experience shed its power into the 
sermon, but left its form of facts outside ; how his 
sermons were like the heaven of his life, in which the 
spirit of its life lived after it had cast away its body. 
There have, indeed, been preachers and writers 
whose utterance of truth has fallen naturally in the 
forms of autobiography, and yet who have been at 
once strong and broad. You can gather all of 


Latimcr s history out of his sermons, and Milton has 
given us a large part of his teaching in connection 
with the events of his own life. But ordinarily 
that is true in literature, and certainly in preaching, 
which is true in life. It is not the man who forces 
the events of his life on you who most puts the spirit 
of his life into you. The most unreserved men are 
not the most influential. A reserved man who cares 
for truth, and cares that his brethren should know the 
truth, who therefore is always holding back the mere 
envelope of accident and circumstance in which the 
truth has embodied itself to him, and yet sending 
forth the truth with all the clearness and force which 
it has gathered for him from that embodiment, he is 
the best preacher, as everywhere he is the most influ 
ential man. Try to live such a life, so full of events 
and relationships that the two great things, the 
power of Christ and the value of your brethren s 
souls, shall be tangible and certain to you ; not sub 
jects of speculation and belief, but realities which you 
have seen and known ; then sink the shell of personal 
experience, lest it should hamper the truth that you 
must utter, and let the truth go out as the shot goes, 
carrying the force of the gun with it, but leaving the 
gun behind. 

There is something beautiful to me in the way in 
which the utterance of the best part of a man s own 
life, its essence, its result, \diich the pulpit makes 


possible, and even tempts, is welcomed by many men, 
who seem to find all other utterance of themselves 
impossible. I have known shy, reserved men, who, 
standing in their pulpits, have drawn back before a 
thousand eyes veils that were sacredly closed when 
only one friend s eyes could see. You might talk 
with them a hundred times, and you would not learn 
so much of what they were as if you once heard them 
preach. It was partly the impersonality of the great 
congregation. Humanity, without the offence of in 
dividuality, stood there before them. It was no vio 
lation of their loyalty to themselves to tell their 
secret to mankind. It was a man who silenced them. 
But also, besides this, it was, I think, that the sight 
of many waiting faces set free in them a new, clear 
knowledge of what their truth or secret was, un 
snarled it from the petty circumstances into which it 
had been entangled, called it first into clear conscious 
ness, and then tempted it into utterance with an au 
thority which they did not recognize in an individual 
curiosity demanding the details of their life. Our 
race, represented in a great assemblage, has more 
authority and more beguilement for many of us than 
the single man, however near he be. And he who 
is silent before the interviewer pours out the very 
depths of his soul to the great multitude. He will 
not print his diary for the world to read, but he will 
tell his fellow-men what Christ may be to them, so 


that they shall see, as God sees, what Christ has been 
to him. 

I think, again, that this first truth of preaching, the 
truth that the minister enters into the sermon, touches 
upon the point of which I spoke in my last sermon, 
the authority of the sermon. The sermon is God s 
message sent by you to certain of your fellow-men. 
If the message came to your fellow-men just as it 
came from God it must be absolutely true and must 
have absolute authority. If the fallible messenger 
mixes himself with his infallible message, the ab 
solute authority of the message is in some degree 
qualified. But we have seen that the very idea of 
the sermon implies that the messenger must mingle 
himself with the message that he brings ; and, as a 
mere matter of fact, we know that every preacher does 
declare the truth from his own point of view and fol 
lows his own judgment, enlightened by his study and 
his prayer, when he declares how the eternal truth 
applies to temporary circumstances. Some things 
which you say from the pulpit you know ; other 
things are your speculations. This is true very 
largely of the anticipations and prophecies about the 
destiny of the Gospel, about the relations which the 
Gospel holds to the circumstances of special times in 
which ministers indulge. John Wesley used to say 
that " Infidels know, whether Christians know it or 
not, that the giving up witchcraft is in effect giving 


up the Bible." When we were children it used to be 
preached to us that the Bible must stand or fall with 
human slavery. And now we hear continually that 
this or that will happen to religion if such or such a 
theory of natural science should be accepted. Such 
prophecies are always bad. Tests which are not es 
sential and absolute tests do great harm. But these 
are instances of the way in which speculations, per 
sonal opinions, prejudices, if you will, must attach 
themselves to any live man s utterance of the truth. 
It is inevitable ; and what must be the result ? Either 
all speculation must be cut away and the sermon be 
reduced to the mere repetition of indisputable and 
undisputed truth; and the mere primary facts of 
Christianity which alone are held absolutely " semper, 
ubique et ab omnibus " must make the sum of preach 
ing ; or else the preacher must let the people clearly 
understand that between the facts that are his message 
and the philosophy of those facts which is his best 
and truest judgment there is a clear distinction. The 
first come with the authority of God s revelation. 
The others come with what persuasion their essential 
reasonableness gives them. Now the first method is 
impracticable. No man ever did it. No man who 
claims to preach nothing but the simple Gospel 
preaches it so simply that it has not in it something 
of his own speculation about it. The other method 
is the only method. Even St. Paul came to it in his 


epistles. But how few preachers frankly adopt it : 
We cover all we say our crude guesses, our igno 
rant anticipations with a certain vague and unde 
fined authority ; and men, hearing themselves called 
on to believe them all, and seeing part of them to be 
untrue, really believe none of them in any genuine or 
hearty way. We stretch our authority to try to make 
it cover so much that it grows thin and will not de 
cently cover anything at all. Frankness is what we 
need, frankness to say, "This is God s truth, and this 
other is what I think." If we were frank like that, 
see what good things would come. The minister 
would have room for intellectual change and growth, 
and not have to steal them as if they were something to 
which he had no right. The people could hear many 
men preach, and hear them differ from each other, and 
yet not be bewildered and confounded. And every 
preacher, with the clearly recognized right, would 
have to accept the duty of being a thinker in the 
things of God. 

One of the most interesting questions which meet 
us as we try to form an idea of what the sermon 
ought to be, is that suggested by the occasional or 
constant outcry against the preaching of Doctrine, 
and the call for practical sermons, or for what is 
called "preaching Christ only." Let me speak of 
this. I do not hold that the outcry is absurd. I do 
not think that it is one to which the preacher ought 


to shut his ears. It is a very blind and unintelligent 
cry, no doubt. All popular outcries are that. Every 
popular movement and demand has in general the 
same history. It begins with a vague discontent that 
never even attempts to give an account of what it 
means, and it passes on into three different manifes 
tations of itself ; one, an honest attempt by its own 
adherents to declare its philosophy and give an intel 
ligible reason for it ; another, an effort by those who 
dislike it to misrepresent and to defame it ; a third, 
the adoption of its phrases by people who care little 
about it but like to affect an interest in whatever is 
uppermost. In this last stage the popular movement 
becomes a fashionable cant. There never was a stir 
and dissatisfaction, a dislodging and outreaching of 
men s minds which did not show itself in all these 
forms. This dissatisfaction with what is called doc 
trinal preaching appears in all three. At the bottom 
it is a discontent with something that the souls of 
men feel to be wrong. Then comes the endeavour of 
men to state the grievance, which is often very fool 
ishly done, and would, if carried out, sweep away 
everything like positive Christianity together. Then 
comes the misrepresentation of the popular demand, 
which talks about it as if it all came of the spirit of 
indifference or unbelief. And then finally succeeds 
that which is the lowest degradation to which anything 
which might be an intelligent opinion can be reduced, 


the affectation which pretends to be in horror at any 
thing like dogmatism, and repeats without meaning 
the praises of an undogmatic preaching. Now the 
minister meets all of these. What shall he do ? It is 
easy enough for him to expose the illogical reasoning, 
easy for him to see its misconceptions, easy for him 
to despise its cant, but it ought not to be easy for him 
to shut his ears to that out of which they all come, 
that deep, blind, unintelligent discontent with some 
thing which is evidently wrong. He must bring his 
intelligence to bear on that. It cannot tell what it 
means itself. He must find out what it means, and 
not be deterred by the offensiveness of any of its ex 
hibitions from a careful understanding of its true 

For it does mean something, and what it means is 
this : that men who are looking for a law of life and 
an inspiration of life are met by a theory of life. 
Much of our preaching is like delivering lectures 
upon medicine to sick people. The lecture is true. 
The lecture is interesting. Nay, the truth of the lec 
ture is important, and if the sick man could learn the 
truth of the lecture he would be a better patient, he 
would take his medicine more responsibly and regu 
late his diet more intelligently. But still the fact re 
mains that the lecture is not medicine, and that to 
give the medicine, not to deliver the lecture, is the 
preacher s duty. I know the delusiveness of such an 


analogy. Let us not urge it too far ; but let us own 
that the idea which has haunted the religious life of 
man, and which is not true, has had a serious and 
bad effect on preaching. That idea is that the tenure 
of certain truths, and not the possession of a certain 
character, is a saving thing. It is the notion that 
faith consists in the believing of propositions. Let 
that heresy be active or latent in a preacher s mind, 
and he inevitably falls into the vice which people 
complain of when they talk about doctrinal preach 
ing. He declares truth for its own value and not 
with direct reference to its result in life. 

It is not my place to argue here that the idea of 
faith from which such preaching comes is not the 
scriptural idea, not the idea of Jesus. But it does 
come within my region to point out the influence that 
a man s first idea of saving faith must have upon 
his whole conception of a sermon. The preacher who 
thinks that faith is the holding of truth must ever be 
aiming to save men from believing error and to bring 
them to the knowledge of what is true. The man 
who thinks that faith is personal loyalty must always 
be trying to bring men to Christ and Christ to men. 
Which is the true idea ? That, as I said, it is not for me 
to discuss. But I may beg you to consider seriously 
what the faith was that Christ longed so to see in his 
disciples, and what that faith must be whose " trial " 
or education St. Peter says "is much more precious 


than of gold that perishes." Such words as those 
carry us inevitably into the realm of character, which 
we know is the one thing in man which God values 
and for which Christ labored and lived and died. 

This does seem to me to make the truth about the 
preaching of doctrine very plain. The salvation of 
men s souls from sin, the renewing and perfecting of 
their characters, is the great end of all. But that is 
done by Christ. To bring them, then, to Christ, that 
He may do it, to make Christ plain to them, that they 
may find Him, this is the preacher s work. But I 
cannot do my duty in making Christ plain unless 
I tell them of Him all the richness that I know. 1 
must keep nothing back. All that has come to me 
about Him from His Word, all that has grown clear 
to me about His nature or His methods by my inward 
or outward experience, all that He has told me of 
Himself, becomes part of the message that I must tell 
to those men whom He has sent me to call home to 
Himself. I will do this in its fulness. And this is 
the preaching of doctrine, positive, distinct, charac 
teristic Christian Truth. Only, the truth has always 
character beyond it as its ulterior purpose. Not until 
I forget that, and begin to tell men about Christ as if 
that they should know the truth about Him, and not 
that they should become what knowing the truth 
about Him would help them be, were the final pur 
pose of my preachingnot until then do I begin to 


preach doctrine in the wrong way which men are try 
ing to describe when they talk about " doctrinal 

The truth is, no preaching ever had any strong 
power that was not she preaching of doctrine. The 
preachers that hav moved and held men have always 
preached doctrine. No exhortation to a good life 
that does not put behind it some truth as deep as 
eternity can seize and hold the conscience. Preach 
doctrine, preach all the doctrine that you know, and 
learn forever more and more ; but preach it always, 
not that men may believe it, but that men may be 
saved by believing it. So it shall be live, not dead. 
So men shall rejoice in it and not decry it. So they 
shall feed on it at your hands as on the bread of life, 
solid and sweet, and claiming for itself the appetite of 
man which God made for it. 

I am inclined to think that the idea of a sermon is 
so properly a unit, that a sermon involves of necessity 
such elements in combination, the absence of any one 
of which weakens the sermon-nature, that the ordinary 
classifications of sermons are of little consequence. 
We hear of expository preaching and topical sermons, 
of practical sermons, of hortatory discourses, each sep 
arate species seeming to stand by itself. It seems as 
if the preacher were expected to determine each week 
what kind of sermon the next Sunday was to enjoy and 
set himself deliberately to produce it. It may be well, 


but I say frankly that to my mind the sermon seems a 
unit, and that no sermon seems complete that does not 
include all these elements, and that the attempt to make 
a sermon of one sort alone mangles the idea and pro 
duces a one-sided thing. One element will prepon 
derate in every sermon according to the nature of the 
subject that is treated, and the structure of the ser 
mon will vary according as you choose to announce 
for it a topic or to make it a commentary upon some 
words of Christ or His apostles. But the mere pre 
ponderance of one element must not exclude the 
others, and the difference of forms does not really 
make a difference of sermons. The preaching which 
is wholly exposition men are apt to find dull and 
pointless. It is heat lightning that quivers over 
many topics but strikes nowhere. The preaching 
that is the discussion of a topic may be interesting, 
but it grows unsatisfactory because it does not fasten 
itself to the authority of Scripture. It tempts the 
preacher s genius and invention, but is apt to send 
people away with a feeling that they have heard him 
more than they have heard God. The sermon which 
only argues is almost sure to argue in vain, and the 
sermon which only exhorts is like a man who blows 
the wood and coal to which he has not first put a 
light. Either is incomplete alone ; but to supplement 
each by the other in another sermon is certainly a 
very crude, imperfect way to meet the difficulty. It 


is better to start by feeling that every sermon must 
have a solid rest on Scripture, and the pointedness 
which conies of a clear subject, and the conviction 
which belongs to well-thought argument, and the 
warmth that proceeds from earnest appeal. I spoke 
of vagueness as the fault that most of all attended 
what is ordinarily called expository preaching. Be 
sides this, there is the other fault of narrow view. I 
know that fault does not belong to it of necessity. I 
know that the expositor may refuse to become the 
mere ingenious interpreter of texts and the distiller 
of partial doctrines out of one petal of a great book 
or argument which is a symmetrical flower. He may 
insist on taking in the purpose of the whole Epistle 
as he comments upon one isolated chapter. He may 
claim light from the manifold radiance of the whole 
New Testament to let him see the meaning of a 
doubtful verse. But we all know the danger of the 
mere expositor of any book, whether that book be 
Shakespeare or the Bible. There is no reason why, 
in the Bible as in Shakespeare, the minute study of 
parts should not be dangerous to the conception of 
the whole. The same powers and the same weak 
nesses of the human mind are present in the sacred 
study as in what we call the profane study. The es 
cape is not in the abandonment of minute and faith 
ful study, but in the careful preservation of the larger 
purpose and spirit of the work. Our literature 


abounds in illustrations of the difference. Compare 
the noble and vivid pages of Dean Stanley s " Jewish 
Church " with the labor of the ordinary textual com 
mentator, and which is the true expositor of the Old 
Testament ? The larger view in which the poetry 
and the essential truth reside comes in the attempt to 
grasp the topic of the whole. And so that preaching 
which most harmoniously blends in the single sermon 
all these varieties of which men make their classifica 
tions the preaching which is strong in its appeal to 
authority, wide in its grasp of truth, convincing in its 
appeal to reason, and earnest in its address to the 
conscience and the heart, all of these at once that 
preaching comes nearest to the type of the apostolical 
epistles, is the most complete and so the most power 
ful approach of truth to the whole man ; and so is the 
kind of preaching which, with due freedom granted 
to our idiosyncrasies, it is best for us all to seek and 

There is, indeed, another classification of sermons 
which often occurs to me and which I think is not 
without its use. It belongs not to the mere form 
which a sermon takes, but to the side on which it 
approaches and undertakes to convince the human 
mind. Every reality of God may be recognized by us 
in its beauty, its righteousness, or its usefulness. I 
may see, for instance, of God s justice, either the abso- 


lute beauty of it, may stand in awe before it as the 
perfect utterance of the perfect nature, may desire to 
come near to it as the most majestic thing in the 
whole universe, may love it solely for itself. Or I 
may be possessed with the relations which it holds to 
my own moral nature. It may impress me not so 
much as a quality in God as a relationship between 
God s life and mine. It may fill me with a sense of 
sin, make me realize temptation, and stir the depths 
of moral struggle in my life. Or, yet again, I may 
realize that justice as the regulative power of the 
universe, see how conformity to it means peace and 
prosperity from centre to circumference of this vast 
order. I may rejoice in it not for what it is but for 
what it does. Of these three conceptions of God s 
justice, one appeals to the soul and its intuitions of 
eternal fitness, the second to the conscience and its 
knowledge of right and wrong, the third to the prac 
tical instinct with its love of visible achievement. 
Now here we have the suggestions of three different 
sermons. The message which we have to bring is 
the same message, but we bring it to three different 
doors of the same manhood which it desires to enter. 
And one preacher will bring his message oftenest to 
one door, appealing mostly in his sermons to the soul, 
or to the conscience, or to the practical sense. And 
one congregation or one generation will have one door 


more open than the others, its circumstances in some 
way making it most approachable upon that side. 
Here is the free room for the personal differences 
of men to play within the great unity of the sermon 
idea. Among the great French preachers there has 
always been drawn an evident distinction correspond 
ing very nearly to this which I have denned. Massil- 
lon is the interpreter of the religious instinct, speak 
ing to the heart. Bossuet is the preacher of dogma, 
appealing to the conscience. Bourdaloue is the 
preacher of morality, addressing himself to reason. 
Either of these sermons may be of the expository or 
of the topical sort. All of them are able to bring 
Christ in some one of His offices to men, as Priest, 
Prophet, or King. Each of them is capable of blend 
ing with another. There is no such distinction be 
tween them that we may not find a great sermon here 
and there where the three are met, and where Christ 
in His completeness as the satisfaction of the loving 
heart, as the convicter and guide of the awakened 
conscience, and as the hope and inspiration of a 
laboring humanity, is perfectly set forth. According 
to the largeness of your own Christian life will be 
your power to preach that largest sermon. Only I 
beg you to remember in what different ways sermons 
m&y all be messages of the Lord. Let it save you 
from the monotonous narrowness of one eternally 
repeated sermon. And, what is far more important, 


let it keep you from ever daring to say with cruel flip 
pancy of some brother who brings his message to an 
other door of humanity from you, that he " does not 
preach Christ." 

The best sermon of any time is that time s best 
utterance. More than its most ingenious invention or 
its most highly organized government, it declares the 
point which that time has reached. So I think that a 
man s best sermon is the best utterance of his life. It 
embodies and declares him. If it is really his, it tells 
more of him than his casual intercourse with his 
friends, or even the revelations of his domestic life. 
If it is really God s message through him, it brings 
him out in a way that no other experience of his life 
has power to do, as the quality of the trumpet de 
clares itself more clearly when the strong man blows 
a blast for battle through it than when a child 
whispers into it in play. Kemember this, experience 
it in yourself, and then, when you hear your brother 
preach, honor the work that he is doing and listen as 
reverently as you can to hear through him some voice 
of God. They say that brother ministers make the 
most critical and least responsive hearers. I have not 
found them so. I have found them always fullest of 
sympathy. It would be much to their discredit and 
excite serious suspicions of their work if their mere 
familiarity with its details made them less ready to 
feel its spirit and to submit to its power. It is not 


so. Do not begin by thinking that it is so, and you 
will not find it so. 

I should like to devote part of what time remains 
to-day to some suggestions about the true subjects of 
sermons. I used a few minutes ago the phrase 
" preaching Christ " ; and, without cant, it is Christ 
that we are to preach. But what is Christ ? " The 
saving power of the world," we say. Where is His 
power, then, to reach ? Wherever men are wrong ; 
wherever men are capable of being better ; wherever 
His authority and love can make them better. Wher 
ever the abundance of sin has gone, there the abun 
dance of grace must go. There you and I, as ministers 
of grace, are bound to carry it. I confess that at the 
very first statement of it this idea of Christ opens 
to me a range of the subjects, with which it is the 
preacher s duty and right to deal, which seems to 
have no limit. 

But let us go more into particulars. We hear to 
day a great deal about how desirable it is that the 
pulpit, partly because it is, and partly that it may 
more fully be, a power, should deal more directly 
than it does with the special conditions of the time, 
with the special vices and the special needs of the 
days in which we live. It is urged that we ought to 
hear more often than we do now from our preachers 
concerning the right use of wealth, concerning the ex 
travagance of society, concerning impurity and licenti- 


ousness, concerning the prevalent lack of thorough 
ness in our hurried life, concerning political corrup 
tion and misrule. I believe the claim is absolutely 
right. I believe no powerful pulpit ever held aloof 
from the moral life of the community it lived in, as 
the practice of many preachers, and the theory of 
some, would make our pulpit separate itself and con 
fine its message to what are falsely discriminated as 
spiritual things. But with regard to this interest of 
the pulpit in the moral conditions of the day, while 
I most heartily and even enthusiastically assert its 
necessity, I want to make one or two suggestions. The 
first is, that nowhere more than here ought the per 
sonal differences of ministers to be regarded. Some 
men s minds work abstractly, and others work con 
cretely. One man sees sin as an awful, all-pervading 
spiritual presence; another cannot recognize sin un 
less he sees it incarnated in some special vicious act, 
which some man is doing here in his own town. One 
man owns holiness as an unseen spirit ; to another, 
holiness is vague, but good deeds strike his enthusi 
asm and stir him to delight and imitation. Now, 
neither of these men must ask the other man to 
preach just in his way. The first man must not call 
the second a " mere moralist " ; the second must not 
answer back by calling his accuser a pietist. Grant 
ing that the preacher must attack the special sins 
around him, it is not true that every preacher, be the 


nature of his genius what it may, must be goaded 
and driven to it. It is good for us that there should 
be some men to preach, as it would not be well that 
all men should preach, of truth in its pure, invariable 
essence, and of duty in its primary idea, as it issues a 
yet undivided stream from the fountain of the will of 

But again, the method in which the pulpit ought to 
approach the topics of the time is even more import 
ant. It seems to me to be involved, if we can find it 
there, in the perfectly commonplace and familiar state 
ment that the visible, moral conditions of any life, or 
any age, are only symptoms of spiritual conditions 
which are the essential thing. But what is the mean 
ing and value of a symptom ? Are there not two ? 
A symptom is valuable, first, as a sign and test of in 
ward processes which it is impossible to observe di 
rectly, and it has a secondary value under the law of 
reaction, by which a wise restraint applied to the re 
sult may often tend to weaken and help destroy the 
cause. How, then, are symptoms to be treated ? Al 
ways with reference to the unseen conditions which 
they manifest. They are to be examined as tests of 
what these conditions are, and they are to be acted 
upon, not for themselves, but in the hope of reach 
ing those conditions in behind them. Apply all this. 
You and I are preachers in the midst of a corrupt 
community. All kinds of evil practices are rife 


around us. We know it is the first truth of the re 
ligion which we preach that these evil practices are 
not the real essential evil. It is the heart estranged 
from God, the soul gone wrong, the unseen springs 
of manhood out of order, upon which our eye is 
always fastened, and to which alone we know the 
remedy can be applied. What have we, then, to do 
with these evil practices, which we see only as the 
outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual 
disgrace ? Just what I said above : First, honestly 
treat them as tests ; honestly own that, so long as 
these exist, and wherever these exist, the spiritual 
condition is not right; frankly admit of any man, 
whatever his professions of emotional experience, 
whatever he believes, whatever he " feels," that if he 
does bad things he is not a good man. So cordially 
put the spiritual processes of which you preach within 
the judgment of all men who know a good life from a 
bad one. And in the second place strike at the symp 
tom always for the sake of the disease. Aim at all 
kinds of vicious acts. Eebuke dishonesty, licentious 
ness, drunkenness, cruelty, extravagance, but always 
strike in the interest of the soul to which you are a 
messenger, of which your Master has given you part 
of the care. Never let men feel that you and your 
gospel would be satisfied with mere decency, with the 
putting down of all vicious life that left the vicious 

character still strong behind. Surely such a protest 


against vice as this ought to be far more earnest, 
more uncompromising, more self-sacrificing than one 
that worked on lower motives and took shorter views. 
It can make no concessions. It strikes at all vices 
alike. It will not merely try to exchange one vice 
for another. It will hate vices more deeply in pro 
portion as it realizes the depth of sin. 

Do not these two methods of dealing with all 
symptoms describe the true attitude of the Christian 
preacher toward the evident vicious practices by 
which he is surrounded ? Conceiving of them thus, 
he is neither the abstract religionist devoted to the 
fostering of certain spiritual conditions, heedless of 
how they show their worth or worthlessness in the 
moral life which they produce ; nor is he the enlight 
ened economist, weighing with anxious heart the evil 
of sins, but knowing nothing of the sinfulness of 
sin from which they come. He is the messenger of 
Christ to the soul of man always. His sermon about 
temperance, or the late election, or the wickedness of 
oppression, is not an exception, an intrusion in the 
current of that preaching which is always testifying 
of the spiritual salvation. He is ready to speak on 
any topic of the day, but his sermon is not likely to 
be mistaken for an article from some daily news 
paper. It looks at the topic from a loftier height, 
traces the trouble to a deeper source, and is not satis 
fied except with a more thorough cure. 


I do not know of any other principles than these 
which can be applied to the somewhat disputed ques 
tion of political preaching. These seem to me suffi 
cient. I despise, and call upon you to despise, all the 
weak assertions that a minister must not preach poli 
tics because he will injure his influence if he does, or 
because it is unworthy of his sacred office. The in 
fluence that needs such watching may well be allowed 
to die, and the more sacred the preacher s office is 
the more he is bound to care for all the interests of 
every child of God. But apply the principles which 
I laid down, and I think we have a better rule. See 
in the political condition the indication of the nation s 
spiritual state, and aim in all you say about public 
affairs, not simply at securing order and peace, but 
at making good men, who shall constitute a " holy 
nation." The first result of the application of these 
principles will bo that only a true moral issue will 
provoke your utterance. You will not turn the pul 
pit into a place whence you can throw out your little 
scheme for settling a party quarrel or securing a party 
triumph. But when some clear question of right and 
wrong presents itself, and men with some strong pas 
sion or sordid interest are going wrong, then your 
sermon is a poor, untimely thing if it deals only with 
the abstractions of eternity, and has no word to help 
the men who are dizzied with the whirl and blinded 
with the darkness of to-day. It was good to be a 


minister during the war of the Kebellion. A clear, 
strong moral issue stood out plain, and the preacher 
had his duty as sharply marked as the soldiers. That 
is not the case in the same clear way now. It will 
riot ordinarily be so. But still, the ordinary talk 
about ministers not having any power in politics is 
not true. In a land like ours, where the tone of the 
people is of vast value in public affairs, the preachers 
who have so much to do in the creation of the popu 
lar tone must always have their part in politics. 

I close this lecture with three suggestions, on which 
I had meant to dwell at large, but I have used up all 
my time. 

You never can make a sermon what it ought to be 
if you consider it alone. The service that accom 
panies it, the prayer and praise, must have their in 
fluence upon it. 

The sermon must never set a standard which it is 
not really meant that men should try to realize in life. 

No sermon to one s own people can ever be con 
ceived as if it were the only one. It must be part of 
a long culture, working with all the others. 

And yet, in spite of all these definitions and sug 
gestions, I beg you to go away believing that the idea 
of the sermon is not a complicated, but a very simple 


T AM to speak to you to-day about the making of a 
-*- sermon, and if you compare their titles you will 
see in what relation this lecture and the last stand to 
each other, for the make of a sermon must always 
be completely dependent upon the idea of a sermon. 
The idea is perfectly supreme. It is the formative 
power to which all accidents must bow. If any rule 
of the composition or form contradicts the idea, it is 
rebellious and must be sacrificed without a scruple. 
I have heard sermons where it was evident that some 
upstart rule of form was in rebellion against the essen 
tial idea, and the idea was not strong enough to put 
the rebellion down, and the result was that the ser 
mon, like a country in the tumult of rebellion, had 
neither peace nor power. What I say to-day, then, 
is in subordination to what I said before. Any law of 
execution which I may lay down that is inconsistent 
with the idea and purpose of preaching is an intruder 
and must be thrust aside. 

The elements which determine the make of any par- 



ticular sermon are three ; the preacher, the material, 
and the audience ; just as the character of any battle 
is determined by three elements : the gun (including 
the gunner), the ammunition, and the fortress against 
which the attack is made. The reason why a sermon 
preached last Sunday in the Church of St. John Lat- 
eran at Eome differed from the sermon preached in 
the First Congregational Church of New Haven must 
have been partly that the preacher was a different 
sort of man, partly that the truth which he wanted 
to preach was different, partly that the man he wished 
to touch and influence was different, at least in his 
conception. Make these three elements exactly alike, 
and all sermons must be perfectly identical. It is be 
cause these three elements are never exactly the same, 
and yet there always is a true resemblance, that we 
have all sermons unlike one another and yet a certain 
similarity running through them all. No two men 
are precisely similar, or think of truth alike, or sea 
the men to whom they speak in the same light. Con 
sequently the make of every man s sermon must be 
different from the make of every other man s. Nay, 
we may carry this farther. No live man at any one mo 
ment is just the same as himself at any other moment, 
nor does he see truth always alike, nor do men always 
look to him the same ; and therefore in his sermons 
there must be the same general identity combined 
with perpetual variety which there is in his life. His 


sermons will be all alike and yet unlike each other. 
And the making of every sermon, while it may follow 
the same general rules, will be a fresh and vital pro 
cess, with the zest and freedom of novelty about it. 
This is the first thing that I wish to say. Establish 
this truth in your minds and then independence 
comes. Then you can stand in the right attitude to 
look at rules of sermon-making which come out of 
other men s experience. You can take them as help 
ful friends and not as arrogant masters. I wish that 
not merely in sermon-writing but in all of life we 
could all come to understand that independence and 
the refusal to imitate and repeat other people s lives 
may come from true modesty as well as from pride. 
To be independent of man s dictation is simply to de 
clare that we must live the special life which God has 
marked out for us and which He has indicated in the 
. special powers which we discover in ourselves. We 
are fit for no other life. There can be nothing more 
modest than that. It is not pride when the beech-tree 
refuses to copy the oak. He knows his limitations. 
The only chance of any healthy life for him is to be 
as full a beech-tree as he can. Apply all that, and 
out of sheer modesty refuse to try to be any kind of 
preacher which God did not make you to be. 

The lack of flexibility in the preacher, resulting in 
the lack of variety in the sermon, has very much to 
do with our imperfect education. The true result of 


education is to develop in the individual that of which 
I have been speaking, the clear consciousness of iden 
tity, together with a wide range of variety. The really 
educated man will be always distinctly himself and 
yet never precisely the same that he was at any other 
moment. His personality will be trained both in the 
persistency of its central stock and in its susceptibility 
and responsiveness to manifold impressions. He will 
have at once a stronger stand and a wider play of 
character. But an uneducated man will be either 
monotonously and doggedly the same, or else full of 
fickle alteration. The defects of our education are 
seen in the way in which it sometimes produces the 
narrow and obstinate specialist, sometimes the vague 
and feeble amateur in many works, but not often the 
strong man who has at once clear individuality and 
wide range of sympathy and action. This is the 
kind of man that the preacher above all ought to be. 
Education alone, thorough education, nothing but 
true, wise, devoted study, can make him so. Educa 
tion alone gives a man at once a good stand and a 
good outlook It is the Frenchman s rule for fen 
cing, " Bon pied, bon ceil," a good foot and a good eye. 
As I begin to speak to you about literary style and 
homiletical construction, I cannot help once more 
urging upon you the need of hard and manly study ; 
not simply the study of language and style itself, but 
study in its broader sense, the study of truth, of his- 


tory, of philosophy ; for no man can have a richly 
stored mind without its influencing the style in which 
he writes and speaks, making it at once thoroughly 
his own, and yet giving it variety and saving it from 
monotony. I suppose the power of an uneducated 
man like Mr. Moody is doing something to discredit 
the necessity of study among ministers and to tempt 
men to rely upon spontaneousness and inspiration. I 
honour Mr. Moody, and rejoice in much of the work 
that he is doing, but if his success had really this 
effect it would be a very serious deduction from its 
value. When you see such a man, you are to con 
sider both his exceptioualness and his limitations. 
In some respects he is a very remarkable and unusual 
man, and therefore not a man out of whom ordinary 
men can make a rule. And his work, valuable as it 
is, stops short at a clear line. He leaves undone 
what nothing but an educated ministry can do, and 
he who is most filled with thankfulness and admira 
tion at that man s career ought to go the more 
earnestly to his books to try to be such a preacher 
as can help fulfil the work which the great revivalist 

Every preacher s sermon style, then, ought to be 
his own; that is the first principle of sermon-mak 
ing. " The style is the man," said Buffon. Only we 
must remember that the man is not something in 
variable. He is capable of improvement. He is 


something different when he is tilled with know 
ledge and affection and enthusiasm, from what he 
was in his first emptiness. The practical conclusion, 
then, that will come from our first principle will not 
be simply that every preacher is to accept himself 
just as he finds himself, and hope for nothing better ; 
but rather this, that style is capable of indefinite 
cultivation, only that its main cultivation must come 
through the cultivation of the man ; not by mere criti 
cal discipline of language, which at the best can only 
produce correctness, but by lifting the whole man to 
a more generous and exalted life, which is the only 
thing that can make a style truly noble. I think, 
indeed, that the question as to wherein lies the 
power of a sermon style corresponds very largely 
with the question about the inspiration of the Scrip 
tures. Various ideas have prevailed about the point 
in which was lodged that quality of the Bible which 
makes us separate it from other books and talk about 
it as inspired. One idea of inspiration puts it in tha 
language, and supposes each word to be a dictation of 
the Holy Ghost. Another idea puts it in the writer, 
and supposes, with a profounder philosophy, that the 
power of exalted and truthful utterance was a truth 
ful and exalted soul. Another idea puts it in the 
material. The history itself was full of God, and when 
men wrote that God-filled history their writings were 
different from other men s, more full of the divine 
atmosphere, because of the strauge divine character of 


the things they wrote about. And so the sennori comes 
forth peculiar. Wherein does its peculiarity reside ? 
Is it that a certain language, certain forms of speech, 
belong there which do not belong to other literature ? 
Is it that the sermon-writer is in a condition and an 
attitude that no other man ever quite assumes ? Is it 
that the subjects with which the sermon deals are 
more solemn, and more touching, more divine than 
any others ? No doubt all three ideas are true in their 
degrees, but no doubt, also, he who looks to the deepest 
truth in the matter will get the deeper power. He 
who aspires to the strength of truth and character 
will be a stronger man than he who tries to prevail 
by the finish and completeness of his language. 

The history of a particular sermon begins with the 
selection of a topic. Ordinarily, except in purely ex 
pository preaching, that comes before the selection 
of a text. And the ease and readiness of this selec 
tion depend upon the richness of a man s own life, 
and the naturalness of his conception of a sermon. 
I can conceive of but two things which should cause 
the preacher any difficulty in regard to the abundance 
of subjects for his preaching. The first is the sterility 
of his own mind, the second is a stilted and unnatural 
idea of what the sermon he is going to write must be. 
Let the man s own mind be everywhere else except 
upon the things of God, let his own spiritual life be 
meagre and uusuggestive, let him feel no developing 


power in his own experience, and I can see him sitting 
in despair or hurrying hither and thither in distrac 
tion, as the day approaches when he must talk of some 
thing, and he has nothing of which to talk. Or let 
him once get the idea that every sermon, or that any 
particular sermon, is to be a great sermon, a " pulpit- 
effort," as the dreadful epithet runs, and again he 
is all lost. Which of these quiet, simple, practical 
themes that offer themselves is suitable to bear the 
aspirations and contortions of his eloquence ? The 
first of the difficulties I say no more about, only be 
cause I seem to have talked to you of nothing else 
than the way in which there must be a man behind 
every sermon, though, indeed, I do think that the 
most important, I had almost said the only important, 
thing in this matter of learning to preach. But I say 
no more of that just now. This other matter let me 
dwell on for a moment. The notion of a great 
sermon, either constantly or occasionally haunting the 
preacher, is fatal. It hampers, as I said, the freedom 
of utterance. Many a true and helpful word which 
your people need, and which you ought to say to 
them, will seem unworthy of the dignity of your 
great discourse. Some poor exhorter coming along 
the next week, and saying it, will sweep the last recol 
lection of your selfish achievement out of the minds 
of people. Never tolerate any idea of the dignity of 
a sermon which will keep you from saying anything 


in it which you ought to say, or which your people 
ought to hear. It is the same folly as making your 
chair so fine that you dare not sit down in it. There 
will come great, or at least greater sermons in every 
live minister s career, sermons which will stand out 
for vigor and beauty, distinctly above his ordinary 
work, but they will come without deliberation, the 
dowers of his ministry, the offspring of moments 
which found his powers at their best activity and him 
most regardless of effect. It is good and encourag 
ing, it helps one s faith in human nature, and it has 
an influence to keep us from the pulpit s besetting 
follies, when we see how universally the deliberate 
attempt to make great sermons fails. They never 
have the influence, and they very seldom win the 
praise, that they desire. The sermons of which no 
body speaks, the sermons which come from mind and 
heart, and go to heart and mind with as little con 
sciousness as possible of tongue and ear, those are 
the sermons that do the work, that make men better 
men, and really sink into their affections. They are 
like the perfect days when no man says, " How fine 
it is," but when every man does his best work and 
feels most fully what a blessed thing it is to live. 

I think, too, that this wrong notion about sermons 
has led to a great deal of the bad talk which is run 
ning about now among both clergymen and laymen 
about the excessive amount of preaching. " How is 


it possible," they say, " that any man should bring 
forth two strong, good sermons every week ? It is 
impossible. Let us have only one sermon every Sun 
day ; and if the people will insist on coming twice to 
the church, let us cheat them with a little poor music 
and a few remarks, and call it vesper service, or let 
us tell a few stories to the Sunday-school, and call it 
children s church ; but let us not preach twice to 
men and women. It is impossible." It is impossible, 
if by a sermon you intend a finished oration. It is 
as impossible to produce that twice as it is undesir 
able to produce it once a week. But that a man who 
lives with God, whose delight is to study God s words 
in the Bible, in the world, in history, in human na 
ture, who is thinking about Christ, and man, and sal 
vation every day that he should not be able to talk 
about these things of his heart seriously, lovingly, 
thoughtfully, simply, for two half-hours every week, 
is inconceivable, and I do not believe it. Cast off 
the haunting incubus of the notion of great sermons. 
Care not for your sermon, but for your truth, and for 
your people ; and subjects will spring up on every 
side of you, and the chances to preach upon them will 
be all too few. I beg you not to fall into this foolish 
talk about too much preaching. It is not for us min 
isters to say that there is no need of more than one 
discourse a day. If you have anything to say, and 
say it bravely and simply, men will come to hear you. 


If you will preach as faithfully and thoughtfully at 
the second service as at the first, the second service 
will not be deserted. At any rate, it is our place to 
stand by our pulpits till men have deserted us, and 
not, for the sake of saving our own credit, to shut the 
church doors while they are still ready to come and 

But to return more closely to our subject ; having 
settled in general what topics may be preached upon, 
how shall the topic for a single sermon, the sermon 
for next Sunday, be selected ? I answer that there 
are three principles which have a right to enter into 
the decision. They are the bent of the preacher s in 
clination, the symmetry and " scale " of all his preach 
ing, and the peculiar needs of his people. I mention 
the three in the order in which they are apt to pre 
sent themselves to the minister as he makes his choice. 
Keverse that order, begin with the last, and you 
have the elements of a right choice rightly arranged. 
First comes the sympathetic and wise perception of 
what the people need ; not necessarily what they con 
sciously want, though, remember, no more necessa 
rily what they do not want. This perception is not 
the sudden result of an impression that has come 
from some lively conversation which has sprung up 
on a parish visit, not the desire to confute the cavil 
of some single captious disputant ; it is the aggregate 
effect of a large sympathetic intercourse, the fruit of 


a true knowledge of human nature, combined with a 
special knowledge of these special people, and a cor 
dial interest in the circumstances under which they 
live. That evidently is no easy thing to win. It re 
quires of a minister that timeliness and that breadth 
which it is very hard to find in union with each other. 
It is not something to be picked up in the easy inti 
macy of parochial visiting. It may be helped there, 
but it must be born of an alert mind fully interested 
in the times in which it lives, and a devout soul really 
loving the souls with which it has to deal 

The second element of choice, the desire to preserve 
a symmetry and proportion in our preaching, of 
course comes in to modify the action of the first. 
Not merely by our present perception of what people 
need, but in relation to our whole scheme of teaching, 
to what has gone before and what is to come after, 
the subject of next Sunday is to be selected. I have 
suggested to you in another lecture how great a help 
the ancient calendar of the Church year is in this 
respect. The prolonged and connected course of ser 
mons is a safeguard against mere flightiness and par- 
tialness in the choice of topics. The only serious 
danger about a course of sermons is, that where the 
serpent grows too long it is difficult to have the 
vitality distributed through all his length, and even 
to his last extremity. Too many courses of sermons 
start with a very vital head, that draws behind it by 


and by a very lifeless tail. The head springs and the 
tail crawls, and so the beast makes no graceful pro 
gress. I think that a set and formally announced 
course of sermons very seldom preserves both its 
symmetry and its interest. The system of long 
courses is apt to secure proportion at too great an 
expense of spontaneity. The only sure means of 
securing the result is orderliness in the preacher s 
mind; the grasp of Christian truth as a system, 
and of the Christian life as a steady movement of 
the whole nature through Christ to the Father. 

Then comes the third principle by which the choice 
is regulated, the principle that a man can preach best 
about what he at that moment wishes to preach 
about, the element of the preacher s own disposition. 
You can see why it should not be made the first ele 
ment. I could tell you of pulpits which have sinned 
and failed by making it the first element. But you 
can see, also, why it must come in at least as the 
third element. It gives the freshness and joyousness 
and spring to the other two. You cannot think of a 
people listening with pleasure or vivacity to a sermon 
on a subject which they knew the minister thought 
they needed to hear about, and thought the time had 
come to preach about, but which they also knew that 
he did not care for, and did not want to preach upon. 
The personal interest of the preacher is the buoyant 
air that fills the mass and lifts it. 



These three considerations, then, settle the sermon s 
topic. Evidently neither is sufficient by itself. The 
sermon preached only with reference to the people s 
needs is heavy. The sermon preached for symmetry 
is formal. The sermon preached with sole reference 
to the preacher s wish is whimsical. The constant 
consideration of all three makes preaching always 
strong and always fresh. When all three urgently 
unite to settle the topic of some special sermon I do 
not see why we may not prepare that sermon in a 
solemn exhilaration, feeling sure that it is God s will 
that we should preach upon that topic then ; and, 
when it is written, go forth with it on Sunday to our 
pulpit, declaring, almost with the certainty of one of 
the old prophets, " The Word of the Lord came 
unto me, saying." 

Let me add this, that the meeting of these various 
elements of choice is clearest when the selection is 
most deliberate. Always have the topic of your 
sermon in your mind as long as possible before 
you begin your preparation. Whatever else is hasty 
and extemporaneous, let it not be your decision as to 
what you will preach about. 

The subject chosen, next will come the special pre 
paration for the sermon. This ought to consist mostly 
in bringing together, and arranging, and illuminating 
a knowledge of the subject and thought about it 


which has already been in the possession of the 
preacher. I think that the less of special prepara 
tion that is needed for a sermon, the better the 
sermon is. The best sermon would be that whose 
thoughts, though carefully arranged, and lighted up 
with every illustration that could make them clearer 
for this special appearance, were all old thoughts, 
familiar to the preacher s mind, long a part of his ex 
perience. Here is suggested, as you see, a clear and 
important difference between two kinds of preachers. 
One preacher depends for his sermon on special read 
ing. Each discourse is the result of work done in 
the week in which it has been written. All his study 
is with reference to some immediately pressing occa 
sion. Another preacher studies and thinks with far 
more industry, is always gathering truth into his 
mind, but it is not gathered with reference to the 
next sermon. It is truth sought for truth s sake, and 
for that largeness and ripeness and fulness of char 
acter which alone can make him a strong preacher. 
Which is the better method ? The latter beyond all 
doubt. In the first place, the man of special prepara 
tions is always crude ; he is always tempted to take 
up some half-considered thought that strikes him in 
the hurry of his reading, and adopt it suddenly, and 
set it before his people, as if it were his true convic 
tion. Many a minister s old sermons are scattered all 


over with ideas which he never held, but which once 
held him for a week, like the camps in other men s 
forests where a wandering hunter has slept for a 
single night. The looseness and falseness, the weak 
ening of the essential sacredness of conviction which 
must come from years of such work, any one may 
see. And in the second place, the immediate pre 
paration for a sermon is something that the people 
always feel. They know the difference between a 
sermon that has been crammed, and a sermon which 
has been thought long before, and of which only the 
form, and the illustrations, and the special develop 
ments, and the application of the thought, are new. 
Some preachers are always preaching the last book 
which they have read, and their congregations always 
find it out. The feeling of superficialness and thin 
ness attaches to all they do. The exegesis of a pas 
sage which the man never thought of till he began to 
preach about it may be clever and suggestive, but it 
inspires no confidence. I do not rest on it with even 
that amount of assurance which the same man s 
careful study would inspire. It is got up for the 
occasion. It is like a politician s opinions just before 
election. But the strongest reason for the rule which 
I am stating comes from the very nature of the 
sermon on which I have dwelt so much. The sermon 
is truth and man together ; it is the truth brought 
through the man. The personal element is essential, 


Now the truth which the preacher has gathered on 
Friday for the sermon which he preaches on Sunday 
has come across the man, but it has not come 
through the man. It has never been wrought into 
his experience. It comes weighted and winged with 
none of his personal life. If it is true, it is a book s 
truth, not a man s truth that we get. It does not 
make a full, real sermon. 

If I am right in this idea, then it will follow that 
the preacher s life must be a life of large accumula 
tion. He must not be always trying to make sermons, 
but always seeking truth, and out of the truth 
which he has won the sermons will make themselves. 
I can remember how, before I began to preach, every 
book I read seemed to spring into a sermon. It 
seemed as if one could read nothing without sitting 
down instantly and turning it into a discourse, But 
as I began and went on preaching, the sermons that 
came of special books became less and less satisfac 
tory and more and more rare. Some truth which 
one has long known, stirred to peculiar activity by 
something that has happened or by contact with 
some other mind, makes the best sermon ; as the best 
dinner comes not from a hurried raid upon the 
caterer s, but from the resources of a constantly 
well-furnished house. Constant quotations in ser 
mons are, I think, a sign of the same crudeness. 
They show an undigested knowledge. They lose the 


power of personality. They daub the wall with un- 
tempered mortar. Here is the need of broad and 
generous culture. Learn to study for the sake of 
truth, learn to think for the profit and the joy of 
thinking. Then your sermons shall be like the 
leaping of a fountain and not like the pumping of 
a pump. 

For over six hundred years now it has been the 
almost invariable custom of Christian preachers to 
take a text from Scripture and associate their thoughts 
more or less strictly with that. For the first twelve 
Christian centuries there seems to have been no such 
prevailing habit. This fact ought to be kept in mind 
whenever the custom of a text shows any tendency to 
become despotic or to restrain in any way the liberty 
of prophesying. At the present day there can be no 
doubt that the change in the way of considering the 
Bible which belongs to our times has had an influence 
upon our feeling with regard to texts and our treat 
ment of them. The unity of the Bible, the relation 
of its parts, its organic life, the essentialness of every 
part, and yet the distinct difference in worth and dig 
nity of the several parts, these are now familiar ideas 
as they were not a few years ago. There was a time 
when to many people the Bible stood, not merely a 
collection of various books, all equally the Word of 
God, all equally useful to men, but also as a succes 
sion of verses, all true, all edifying, all vital with the 


Gospel. A page of the Bible torn out at random and 
blown into some savage island seemed to have in it 
some power of salvation. The result of such a feel 
ing was, of course, to clothe the single text with inde 
pendent sacredness and meaning. It hardly mat 
tered from what part of the Bible it might come. 
Solomon s Songs and St. John s Gospel were preached 
from as if they taught the same truth with the same 
authority. The cynical author of the Ecclesiastes 
was made to utter the same message as the hopeful 
and faithful St. Paul. This is not the place to re 
count the causes for the change, nor to estimate its 
value or its dangers. Considered simply as it has 
affected the preacher s relation to the Bible, I think 
there can be no doubt of the improvement it has 
brought. It has made the single text of less import 
ance. It has led men to desire an entrance into the 
heart and spirit of the Bible. It has made biblical 
study to consist, not in the weighing of text against 
text, but in the estimating of great streams of tend 
ency, the following of great lines of thought, the ap 
prehension of the spirit of great spiritual thinkers who 
" had the mind of Christ." The single verse is no 
longer like a jewel set in a wall which one may pluck 
out and carry off as an independent thing. It is a 
window by which we may look through the wall and 
see the richness it incloses. Taken out of its place it 
has no value. To enter thoroughly into the spirit of 


this new and better relation to the Bible seems to me 
to be all that the preacher needs to guide him with 
reference to the selection and the use of texts. Make 
them always windows. Go up and look through 
them and then tell the people what you see. Keep 
them in their places in the wall of truth. I would 
not say that it is not good to use them, though cer 
tainly there may be true sermons without them. 
They are like golden nails to hold our preaching to 
the Bible. Whether the subject spring out of the 
text as stating the divine philosophy that underlies 
some Scripture incident, or the text spring out of the 
subject as describing some incident that illustrates 
divine philosophy, is unimportant. There are both 
kinds of sermons and both kinds are good. Only, as 
one rule that has no exceptions, let your use of texts 
be real. Never make them mean what they do not 
mean. In the name of taste and reverence alike, let 
there be no twists and puns, no dealing with the 
word of God as it would be insulting to deal with the 
word of any friend. The Bible has suffered in the 
hands of many Christian preachers what the block of 
wood which the savage chooses for his idol suffers 
from its worshipper. The same selection which con 
secrates it as more sacred than other blocks of wood 
condemns it also to have all his ugly fancies and fan 
tastic conceits painted and carved upon it. It is the 
most sacred and most hideous block of wood in the 


village. So the sacredness of the Bible has subjected 
it to a usage that no other book has received. Such 
a fantastic and irreverent way of manifesting our 
reverence has lasted too long. It is time that it were 
stopped. I beg you to do what you can to stop it. 
At least make your own use of the Bible reverent 
and true. Never draw out of a text a meaning which 
you know is not there. If your text has not your 
truth in it, find some other text which has. If you 
can find no text for it in the Bible, then preach on 
something else. 

I pass on to a few remarks, which will be mere 
suggestions, about the style of sermons. The matter 
will control the style if it is free. The object of 
every training of style is to make it so simple and 
flexible an organ that through it the moving and 
changing thought can utter itself freely. I pity any 
man who writes the same upon all topics. He is evi 
dently a slave to himself. To be yourself, yet not to 
be haunted by an image of yourself to which you are 
continually trying to correspond, that is the secret of 
a style at once characteristic and free. I go to hear a 
preacher whose style is peculiarly his own, and very 
often indeed I find him a slave to his own peculiari 
ties. He must not think anything except what is 
capable of being said in a certain way. A true style 
is like a suit of the finest chain armor, so strong that 
the thought can go into battle with it, but so flexible 


that it can hold the pencil in its steel fingers for the 
most delicate painting. For the acquisition of such 
a style no labor is too great. I think that it is good 
for every minister to write something besides ser 
mons, books, articles, essays, at least letters ; pro 
vided he has control of himself and still remains the 
preacher, and does not become an amateur in litera 
ture instead. If he can do it rightly, it frees him 
from the tyranny of himself, and keeps him in con 
tact with larger standards. Some of our noblest 
thinkers fail of effect for want of an organ of utter 
ance, a free pulpit-style. The trouble with them, 
often, is that they never wrote anything but sermons. 
Indeed I do not think there is any such thing as a 
sermon-style proper. He who can write other things 
well, give him the soul and purpose and knowledge 
of a preacher and he will write you a good sermon. 
But he who cannot write anything well cannot write 
a sermon well, although we often think he can. To 
him who has no literary skill all subjects are alike. 
If you cannot swim, it matters not whether there be 
twenty or forty feet of water. 

In a word, then, I should say, get facility of utter 
ance where you can ; in part at least, outside of 
sermon- writing. Make your style characteristic and 
forcible by never writing unless you have something 
that you really want to say ; then let the changes of 
your truth freely play within it and shape its special 


forms. A style which is really a man s own will 
grow as long as he grows. One of the best things 
about Macaulay s life is his belief that as a writer 
he was improving to the last. It belonged to that 
vitality of which the man and the writing were both 
so full. 

The range of sermon- writing gives it a capacity of 
various vices which no other kind of composition 
can presume to rival. The minister may sin in the 
same sermon by grandiloquence and meanness, by 
exaggeration and inadequacy. He needs a many- 
sided watchfulness, or rather a perfectly true literary 
nature, in order that he may do what Eoger Ascharn 
so quaintly and tellingly sums up thus : " In Genere 
Sublimi to avoid Nimium, in Mediocri to atteyne 
Satis, in Humili to eschew Parum." The way that 
he advises to do it is to study Cicero. Certainly, 
stated more generally, the true way is to know first 
what style is for, that it is an instrument and not an 
end, and then as an instrument to perfect it by 
every noble intimacy and laborious practice. 

It would be impossible to speak of this matter of 
style without saying something of the danger of imi 
tation and the way to guard against it. It is con 
nected with that personalness of the work of preach 
ing about which I have said so much. A successful 
preacher is not like a successful author. He stands 
out himself more prominently through his work. 


Men realize him more and feel in themselves the 
same powers by which he has succeeded. A mere 
finished result such as the author gives us in his 
book does not excite the desire of imitation like the 
sight of the process going on in personal action be 
fore us in the pulpit. This is the reason why those 
preachers whose power has in it the largest element 
of personality are the richest in imitators. There are 
some strong voices crying in the wilderness who fill 
the land with echoes. There are some preachers who 
have done noble work of whom we are often com 
pelled to question whether the work that they have 
accomplished is after all greater than the harm that 
they have innocently done by spoiling so many men 
in doing it. They have gone through the ministry, 
as a savage goes through the forest, blazing his way 
upon the trees that stand around him, so that you can 
tell as you travel through the land just where they 
have been by the tones of voice and the turns of sen 
tences which they have left behind them. They leave 
their imitators behind them when they die, and in a 
sense which is not pleasant, " being dead, yet speak." 
Often the circle of one man s influence widens, grow 
ing feebler and feebler until it meets the wave that is 
spreading from another centre, another popular pulpit, 
and only there they obliterate each other, and calmness 
is restored and freedom to be one s self is reasserted. 
The dangers of imitation are two one positive, 


the other negative. There is evil in what you get 
from him whom you imitate and there is a loss of your 
own peculiar power. The positive evil comes from 
the fact that that which is worst in any man is al 
ways the most copiable. And the spirit of the copy 
ist is blind. He cannot discern the real seat of the 
power that he admires. He fixes on some little thing 
and repeats that perpetually, as if so he could get the 
essential greatness of his hero. There is a passage 
in Macaulay s diary which is full of philosophy. " I 
looked through ," he says. " He is, I see, an imi 
tator of me. But I am a very unsafe model. My 
manner is, I think, and the world thinks, on the 
whole a good one, but it is very near to a very bad 
manner indeed, and those clear characteristics of my 
style which are the most easily copied are the most 
questionable." All this is very true of ministers. 
There is hardly any good pulpit-style among us which 
is not very near to a very bad style indeed, and the 
most prominent characteristics are very often the 
most questionable. The obtuseness of the imitator 
is amazing. I remember going years ago with an in 
telligent friend to hear a great orator lecture. The 
discourse was rich, thoughtful, glowing, and delight 
ful. As we came away my companion seemed medi 
tative. By and by he said, " Did you see where his 
power lay ? " I felt unable to analyze and epitomize 
in an instant such a complex result, and meekly I 


said, " No, did you ? " " Yes," he replied briskly, " I 
watched him and it is in the double motion of his 
hand. When he wanted to solemnize and calm and 
subdue us he turned the palm of his hand down ; 
when he wanted to elevate and inspire us he turned 
the palm of his hand up. That was it." And that 
was all the man had seen in an eloquent speech. He 
was no fool, but he was an imitator. He was looking 
for a single secret for a multifarious effect. I suppose 
he has gone on from that day to this turning his 
hand upside down and downside up and wondering 
that nobody is either solemnized or inspired. 

The negative evil of imitation, the loss of a man s 
own personal power, is even more evident and more 
melancholy. If it were only the men who were in 
capable of any manner of their own that caught up 
other people s manners it would not be so bad, but 
often strong men do it. Men imitate others who are 
every way their inferiors, and so some pretentious 
blockhead not merely gives us himself, but loses for 
us the simple and straightforward power of some bet 
ter man, as a log of wood lodged just in the neck of 
the channel stops the water of a free, live stream. 

I am convinced that the only escape from the 
power of imitation when it has once touched us and 
remember it often touches us without our conscious 
ness ; you and I may be imitating other men to-day 
and not at all aware of it lies in a deeper serious- 


ness about all our work. What we need is a fuller 
sense of personal responsibility and a more real rev 
erence for the men who are greater than we are. 
Give a man real personal sense of his own duty and 
he must do it in his own way. The temptation of 
imitation is so insidious that you cannot resist it by 
the mere determination that you will not imitate. 
You must bring a real self of your own to meet this 
intrusive self of another man that is crowding in 
upon you. Cultivate your own sense of duty. The 
only thing that keeps the ocean from flowing back 
into the river is that the river is always pouring 
down into the ocean. And again, if you really rev 
erence a great man, if you look up to and rejoice in 
his good work, if you truly honor him, you will get 
at his spirit, and doing that you will cease to imitate 
his outside ways. You insult a man when you try 
to catch his power by moving your arms or shaping 
your sentences like his, but you honor him when you 
try to love truth and do God s will the better for 
the love and faithfulness which you see in him. So 
that the release from the slavery of superficial imita 
tion must come not by a supercilious contempt, but 
by a profounder reverence for men stronger and 
more successful than yourself. 

With regard to the vexed question of written or 
unwritten sermons I have not very much to say. I 


think it is a question whose importance has been 
very much exaggerated, and the attempt to settle 
which with some invariable rule has been unwise, 
and probably has made stumbling speakers out of 
some men who might have been effective readers, or 
stupid readers out of men who might have spoken 
with force and fire. The different methods have 
their evident different advantages. In the written 
sermon the best part of the care is put in where it 
belongs, in the thought and construction of the dis 
course. There is deliberateness. There is the assur 
ance of industry and the man s best work. The truth 
comes to the people with the weight that it gets 
from being evidently the preacher s serious conviction. 
There is self-restraint. There is some exemption from 
those foolish fluent things that slip so easily off 
the ready tongue. The writer is spared some of 
those despairing moments which come to the extem 
poraneous speaker when a wretched piece of folly 
escapes him which he would give anything to recall 
but cannot, and he sees the raven-like reporters catch 
the silly morsel as it drops. Whatever may be said 
about the duty of labor upon extemporaneous dis 
courses, the advantage in point of faithfulness will 
no doubt always be with the written sermon. King 
Charles II. used to call the practice of preach 
ing from manuscript which had arisen during the 
civil wars, "this slothful way of preaching," but he 


was comparing it probably with the method of 
preaching by memory, the whole sermon being first 
written and then learnt by heart, a method which 
some men practice, but which I hope nobody com 
mends. On the other hand, the extemporaneous dis 
course has the advantage of alertness. It gives a 
sense of liveliness. It is more immediately striking. 
It possesses more activity and warmth. It conveys 
an idea of steadiness and readiness, of poise and self- 
possession, even to the most rude perceptions. Men 
have an admiration for it, as indicating a mastery 
of powers and an independence of artificial helps. 
A rough backwoodsman in Virginia heard Bishop 
Meade preach an extemporaneous sermon, and, being 
somewhat unfamiliar with the ways of the Epis 
copal Church, he said " he liked him. He was the 
first one he ever saw of those petticoat fellows that 
could shoot without a rest." 

It is easy thus to characterize the two methods, but, 
when our characterizations are complete, what shall 
we say ? Only two things, I think, and those so simple 
and so commonplace that it is strange that they 
should need to be said, but certainly they do. The 
first is that two such different methods must belong 
in general to two different kinds of men ; that some 
men are made for manuscripts, and some for the open 
platform ; that to exclude either class from the minis 
try, or to compel either class to use the methods ol 



the other would rob the pulpit by silencing some of 
its best men. The other remark is that almost every 
man, in some proportion, may use both methods ; 
that they help each other ; that you will write better 
if you often speak without your notes, and you will 
speak better if you often give yourself the discipline 
of writing. Add to these merely that the proportion 
of extemporaneous preaching may well be increased 
as a man grows older in the ministry, and I do not 
know what more to say in the way of general sugges 
tion. The rest must be left to a man s own know 
ledge of himself and that personal good sense which 
lies behind all homiletics. 

But there is one thing which I want very much to 
urge upon you. The real question about a sermon is, 
not whether it is extemporaneous when you deliver it 
to your people, but whether it ever was extem 
poraneous, whether there ever was a time when the 
discourse sprang freshly from your heart and mind. 
The main difference in sermons is that some sermons 
are, and other sermons are not, conscious of an audi 
ence. The main question about sermons is whether 
they feel their hearers. If they do, they are enthusi 
astic, personal, and warm. If they do not, they are 
calm, abstract, and cold. But that consciousness of 
an audience is something that may come into the 
preacher s study ; and if it does, his sermon springs 
with the same personalness and fervor there which it 


would get if he made it in the pulpit with the multi 
tude before him. I think that every earnest preacher 
is often more excited as he writes, kindles more then 
with the glow of sending truth to men than he ever 
does in speaking ; and the wonderful thing is that 
that fire, if it is really present in the sermon when 
it is written, stays there, and breaks out into flame 
again when the delivery of the sermon comes. The 
enthusiasm is stowed away and kept. It is like the 
fire that was packed away in the coal-beds ages ago 
and conies out now to give us its undecayed and uii- 
wasted light. As you preach old sermons, I think you 
can always tell, even if the history of them is forgotten, 
which of them you wrote enthusiastically, with your 
people vividly before you. The fire is in them still. 
Fe nelon had a favorite maxim that anything which 
was truly written with enthusiasm could be quickly 
learned even by some one else than its author. It 
is the same idea : that which once has true life in it 
never dies. Believe me, this is the most important 
principle about the matter. It differs, no doubt, in 
different subjects. Some kinds of discourses we can 
never write. They must be made as we deliver them. 
Others we may better write, if we can write with the 
people there before us. Some medicines you must 
mix on the spot ; others you may mix beforehand and 
they will keep their power. Only be sure that you 
are a true preacher, that you really feel your people 


and the details of method may be settled by minnte 
and personal considerations, by your special fitness, 
in some degree even by your peculiar taste. I really 
think that you will be surprised to see how often this 
idea describes the secret of some power in a sermon 
which you have found it hard to discover while you 
have felt it very deeply. The minister who reads his 
manuscript had you with him as he wrote those 
pages. In the calm air of his study, sacred with the 
thought and prayer of years, nothing came in between 
him and you; and so the accidents of the paper 
and the reading amount to nothing. The sermon 
still speaks to you. But sometimes to an extem 
poraneous preacher his very extemporaneousness proves 
a dull, dead cloud, which wraps itself around him, 
and separates him from the people who are crowded 
up close about his feet. The struggles of thought are 
on him. He is busy with the choice of words. His 
mind is watching its own action as it seizes on 
thought after thought. There is a process of memory 
and a process of anticipation going on all the time 
which prevent his perfect occupation in the present 
act. He is forced to recollect himself, and so he 
does not feel the people. This, I am sure, is a true 
account of what is no unusual condition of the extem 
poraneous preacher s mind. I think that the best 
sermons that ever have been preached, taking all the 
qualities of sermons into account, have probably been 


extemporaneous sermons, but that the number of 
good sermons preached from manuscript have prob 
ably been far greater than the number of good ser 
mons preached extemporaneously; and he who can 
put those two facts together will arrive at some 
pretty clear and just idea of how it will be best for 
him to preach. 

Let me offer only a few suggestions upon one or 
two other points, and first with regard to illustra 
tions. The Christian sermon deals with all life, and 
may draw its illustrations from the widest range. 
The first necessity of illustration is that it should be 
true, that is, that it should have real relations to the 
subject which it illustrates. An illustration is pro 
perly used in preaching either to give clearness or to 
give splendor to the utterance of truth. Both ob 
jects, I believe, are legitimate. Euskin says that " all 
noble ornament is the expression of man s delight in 
God s work." And so I think that we confine too 
much the office of illustration if we give it only the 
duty of making truth clear to the understanding, and 
do not also allow it the privilege of making truth 
glorious to the imagination. Archbishop Whately s 
illustrations are of the first sort, Jeremy Taylor s of 
the second. The ornament that fills his sermons is 
almost always the expression of man s delight in 
God s truth. But both sorts of illustration, as you 
see, have this characteristic ; they exist for the truth, 


They are not counted of value for themselves. That 
is the test of illustration which you ought to apply 
unsparingly. Does it call attention to or call atten 
tion away from my truth ? If the latter, cut it off 
without a hesitation. The prettier it is the worse it 
is. Here as everywhere the love of truth for itself 
is the only salvation. Love the truth, and then, for 
your people s good and for your own delight, make it 
as beautiful as you can. 

As to the subjects from which illustrations may be 
drawn, I cannot but think that it would be well if we 
made a much greater use of the history of the Old 
Testament to illustrate the Gospel of the New. And 
for these reasons : first, that the two have an essential 
connection with each other and so they come together 
with peculiar sympathy and fitness ; second, that the 
very antiquity of that history makes it timeless and 
passionless, as it were, and so enables us to use it 
purely as ornament or illustration, without the dan 
ger of its introducing side issues from its own life ; 
and thirdly, we should thus revive and preserve 
people s acquaintance with the Old Testament, which 
is always falling into decay. The second of these 
reasons shows where the weak spot is in the illus 
tration drawn from the events of the current hour, 
which is otherwise so strong and vivid. It is difficult 
to make it serve purely as an illustration. It brings 
in its own associations and prejudices. It is too alive, 


It is as if you made the cornice of your house out of 
wood with so much life in it that it sprouted after it 
was up, and hid with its foliage the architecture 
which it was intended only to display. It was hard 
during the rebellion to illustrate the Christian war 
fare by the then familiar story of the soldier s life 
without hearing through the sermon the drums of 
the Potomac, and seeing the spires of Eichmond 
quite as much as the walls of the New Jerusalem in 
the distance. Besides this, an over-eagerness to catch 
the last sensation to decorate your sermon with gives 
a certain cheapness to your pulpit work. With cau 
tions such as these in mind, we cannot still afford to 
lose the freshness and reality which comes from let 
ting men see the eternal truths shining through the 
familiar windows of to-day, and making them under 
stand that the world is as full of parables as it was 
when Jesus painted the picture of the vineyard be 
tween Jerusalem and Shechem, or took his text from 
the recent terrible accident at Siloam. 

One prevalent impression about sermons which 
prevails now in reaction from an old and disagree 
able method is, I think, mistaken. In the desire to 
make a sermon seem free and spontaneous there is a 
prevalent dislike to giving it its necessary formal 
structure and organism. The statement of the sub 
ject, the division into heads, the recapitulation at the 
end, all the scaffolding and anatomy of a sermon is 


out of favor, and there are many very good jesta 
about it. I can only say that I have come to fear it 
less and less. The escape from it must be not nega 
tive but positive. The true way to get rid of the 
boniness of your sermon is not by leaving out the 
skeleton, but by clothing it with flesh. True liberty 
in writing comes by law, and the more thoroughly 
the outlines of your work are laid out the more freely 
your sermon will flow, like an unwasted stream be 
tween its well-built banks. I think that most con 
gregations welcome, and are not offended by clear, 
precise statements of the course which a sermon is 
going to pursue, carefully marked division of its 
thoughts, and, above all, full recapitulation of its 
argument at the close. A sermon is not like a pic 
ture which, once painted, stands altogether before the 
eye. Its parts elude the memory, and it is good be 
fore you close to gather all the parts together, and as 
briefly as you can set them as one completed whole 
before your hearer s mind. Leave to the ordinary 
Sunday-school address its unquestioned privilege of 
inconsequence and incoherence. But give your ser 
mon an orderly consistent progress, and do not hesi 
tate to let your hearers see it distinctly, for it will 
help them first to understand and then to remember 
what you say. 

Of oratory, and all the marvellous mysterious ways 
of those who teach it, I dare say nothing. I believe 


in the true elocution teacher, as I believe in the exist 
ence of Halley s comet, which comes into sight of 
this earth once in about seventy-six years. But 
whatever you may learn or unlearn from him to 
your advantage, the real power of your oratory must 
be your own intelligent delight in what you are doing. 
Let your pulpit be to you what his studio is to 
the artist, or his court room to the lawyer, or his 
laboratory to the chemist, or the broad field with its 
bugles and banners to the soldier; only far more sa 
credly let your pulpit be this to you, and you have the 
power which is to all rules what the soul is to the body. 
You have enthusiasm which is the breath of life. 

I have spoken to-day about the making of a ser 
mon. I alluded at the beginning of one lecture to a 
young man whom I saw just entering on his work. 
To-day I have been thinking of one whom I knew 
nay, one whom I know who finished his preaching 
years ago and went to God. How does all this seem 
to him ? these rules and regulations of the preach 
er s art, which he once studied as we are studying 
them now. Let us not doubt, my friends, that while 
he has seen a glory and strength in the truth which 
we preach such as we never have conceived, he has 
seen also that no expedient which can make that 
truth a little more effective in its presentation to the 
world is trivial, or undignified, or unworthy of the 
patient care and study of the minister of Christ. 


HAVE said what I had to say about the preacher 
* and about the sermon. To-day I want to speak 
to you about the congregation. There is something 
remarkable in the way in which a minister talks 
about " my congregation." They evidently come to 
seem to him different from the rest of humankind. 
There is the rest of our race, in Europe, Asia, Africa, 
and America, and the Islands of the Sea, and then 
there is " my congregation." A man begins the habit 
the moment he is settled in a parish. However 
young, however inexperienced he may be, he at once 
takes possession of that fraction of the human family 
and holds it with a sense of ownership. He immedi 
ately assumes certain fictions concerning them. He 
takes it for granted that they listen to his words 
with a deference quite irrespective of the value of 
the words themselves. He talks majestically about 
" what I tell my congregation," as if there were some 
basis upon which they received his teachings quite 
different from that upon which other intelligent men 



listen to one who takes his place before them as their 
teacher. He supposes them to be subject to emo 
tions which he expects of no one else. He thinks 
that, in some mysterious way, their property as well 
as their intelligence is subject to his demand, to be 
handed over to him when he shall tell them that he 
has found a good use to which to put it. He imag 
ines that, though they are as clear-sighted as other 
people, little devices of his which are perfectly plain 
to everybody else impose upon them perfectly. He 
talks about them so unnaturally that we are almost 
surprised when we ask their names and find that 
they are men and women whom we know, men and 
women who are living ordinary lives and judging 
people and things by ordinary standards, with all the 
varieties of character and ways which any such group 
must have, whom he has separated from the rest of 
humanity and distinguished by their relation to him 
self and calls " my congregation." 

I think that a good deal of the unreality of clerical 
life comes from this feeling of ministers about their 
congregations. I have known many ministers who 
were frank and simple and unreserved with other 
people for whom they did not feel a responsibility, 
but who threw around themselves a cloak of fictions 
and reserves the moment that they met a parish 
ioner. They were willing to let the stranger clearly 
see that there were many things in religion and the- 


ology which they did not know at all, many other 
questions on which they were in doubt, points of 
their Church s faith which they thought unimportant 
to salvation, methods of their Church s policy which 
they thought injudicious. All this they would say 
freely as they talked with the wolf over the sheepfold 
wall, or with some sheep in the next flock ; but in 
their own flock they held their peace, or said that 
everything was right, and never dreamed that their 
flock saw through their feeble cautiousness. The re 
sult of all this has sometimes been that parishioners 
have trusted other men more than their minister just 
because he was their minister, and have gone with 
their troublesome questions and dark experiences to 
some one who should speak of them freely because 
he should not feel that he was speaking to a member 
of his congregation. 

It is easy to point out what are the causes of this 
feeling which we thus see has its dangers. The bad 
part in it is a love of power. The better part is an 
anxious sense of responsibility, made more anxious by 
the true affection which grows up in the preacher s 
heart. It is almost a parental feeling in its worse 
as in its better features, in its partialness and jeal 
ousy as well as in its devotion and love. But besides 
these there is another element in the view which the 
preacher takes of his congregation which I beg you 
to observe and think about. It is the way in which 


he assumes a difference in the character of people 
when they are massed together from any which they 
had when they were looked at separately. This is 
the real meaning of the tone which is in that phrase 
" my congregation." It is to the minister a unit of 
a wholly novel sort. There is something in the con 
gregation which is not in the men and women as he 
knows them in their separate humanities, something 
in the aggregate which was not in the individuals, a 
character in the whole which was not in the parts. 
This is the reason why he can group them in his 
thought as a peculiar people, hold them in his hand 
as a new human unity, his congregation. 

And no doubt he is partly right. There is a prin 
ciple underneath the feeling by which he vaguely 
works. A multitude of people gathered for a special 
purpose and absorbed for the time into a common in 
terest has a new character which is not in any of the 
individuals which compose it. If you are a speaker 
addressing a crowd you feel that. You say things to 
them without hesitation that would seem either too 
bold or too simple to say to any man among them if 
you talked with him face to face. If you are a spec 
tator and watch a crowd while some one else is speak 
ing to it, you can feel the same thing. You can see 
emotions run through the mass that no one man there 
would have deigned to show or submitted to feel if he 
could have helped it. The crowd will laugh at jokes 


which every man in the crowd would have despised, 
and be melted by mawkish pathos that would not 
have extorted a tear from the weakest of them by him 
self. Imagine Peter the Hermit sitting down alone 
with a man to fire him up for a crusade. Probably 
all this is less true of one of our New England audi 
ences than of any other that is ever collected in our 
land. In it every man keeps guard over his individ 
uality and does not easily let it sink in the character 
of the multitude. And yet we are men and women 
even here, and the universal laws of human nature 
do work even among us. And this is a law of nature 
which all men have observed. " It is a strange thing 
to say," says Arthur Helps in " Realmah," " but when 
the number of any public body exceeds that of forty 
or fifty, the whole assembly has an element of joyous 
childhood in it, and each member revives at times 
the glad, mischievous nature of his schoolboy days." 
Canning used to say that the House of Commons as 
a body had better taste than the man of the best 
taste in it, and Macaulay was much inclined to think 
that Canning was right. 

What are the elements of this new character which 
belongs to a congregation, a company of men ? Two 
of them have been suggested in the two instances 
which I have just quoted, the spontaneousness and 
liberty, and the higher standard of thought and taste 
It is not hard to see what some of the other elements 


are. There is no doubt greater receptivity than there 
is in the individual. Many of the sources of antag 
onism are removed. The tendency to irritation is put 
to rest. The pride of argument is not there ; or is 
modified by the fact that no other man can hear the 
argument, because it cannot speak a word, but must 
go on in a man s own silent soul. It is easier to give 
way when you sit undistinguished in an audience, 
and your next neighbor cannot see the moment when 
you yield. The surrender loses half its hardness 
when you have no sword to surrender and no flag to 
run down. And, besides this, we have all felt how 
the silent multitude in the midst of which we sit or 
stand becomes ideal and heroic to us. We feel as if 
it were listening without prejudice, and responding 
unselfishly and nobly. So we are lifted up to our 
best by the buoyancy of the mass in which we have 
been merged. It may be a delusion. Each of these 
silent men may be thinking and feeling meanly, but 
probably each of them has felt the elevation of the 
mass about him of which we are one particle, and 
so is lifting and lifted just as we are. Who can say 
which drops in the great sweep of the tide are borne, 
and which bear others toward the shore, on which 
they all rise together ? 

This, then, is the good quality in the character of 
the congregation. It produces what in general we 
call responsiveness. The compensating quality which 


takes away part of the value of this one is its irre 
sponsibility. The audience is quick to feel, but slow 
to decide. The men who make up the audience 
taken one by one, are slower to feel an argument or 
an appeal to their higher nature, but when they are 
convinced or touched, it is comparatively easy to 
waken the conscience, and make them see the neces 
sity of action. I have often heard the minister s 
appeals compared to the lawyer s addresses to the 
jury. " Look," men say, " the lawyer pleads, and gets 
his verdict. You plead a hundred times. You argue 
week after week, and men will not decide that Chris 
tianity is true, nor steadfastly resolve to lead a new 
life." The fallacy is obvious. We are like lawyers 
pleading before a jury which in the first place feels 
itself under no compulsion to decide at all; and in 
the second place, if it decides as we are urging it, 
must change its life, break off its habits, and make 
new ones, which it does not like to contemplate. 
There is no likeness between it and that body of 
twelve men who cannot go home till they decide one 
way or the other, and who have no selfish interest to 
bias their decision. No wonder that our jury listens 
to us as long as it pleases, perhaps trembles a little 
when we are most true and powerful, and then, like 
Felix, who was both judge and jury to St. Paul, shuts 
up the court, and departs with only the dimmest feel- 


ing of responsibility, saying, " Go thy way for this 
time. I will hear thee again of this matter." 

The result of all this is that in the congregation 
you have something very near the general humanity. 
You have human nature as it appears in its largest 
contemplation. Personal peculiarities have disap 
peared and man simply as man is before you. This 
is a great advantage to the preacher. " It is more 
easy to know man in general than to know a man in 
particular," said La Eochefoucauld. If in the crowd 
to whom you preach you saw every man not merely 
in general but in particular, if each sat there with his 
idiosyncrasies bristling all over him, how could you 
preach ? There are some preachers, I think, who are 
ineffective from a certain incapacity of this larger 
general sight of humanity which a congregation 
ought to inspire. It has been said of the French 
preachers that Bossuet knew man better than men, 
but Fe nelon knew both man and men. There are 
some preachers who seem to know men, but hardly to 
know or to be touched by man at all. They are 
ready with special sympathies and with minute ad 
vice in the dilemmas of detail which men encounter ; 
but the sight of their race does not rouse them, and 
they are not able to bring to bear upon a people 
those universal and eternal motives of the highest 
human action which, however they may distribute 


themselves into special motives for special acts, still 
have a real unity and are the springs of many good 
nesses of many kinds. Such men may have a cer 
tain fitness to be the spiritual advisers of individuals, 
but it is not easy to see how they can be powerful 
preachers to mankind. 

I think that it is almost necessary for a man to 
preach sometimes to congregations which he does not 
know, in order to keep this impression of preach 
ing to humanity, and so to keep the truth which he 
preaches as large as it ought to be. He who minis 
ters to the same people always, knowing them 
minutely, is apt to let his preaching grow minute, 
to forget the world, and to make the same mistakes 
about the Gospel that one would make about the 
force of gravitation if he came to consider it a special 
arrangement made for these few operations which it 
accomplishes within his own house. I think there are 
few inspirations, few tonics for a minister s life better 
than, when he is fretted and disheartened with a hun 
dred little worries, to go and preach to a congregation 
in which he does not know a face. As he stands up 
and looks across them before he begins his sermon, it 
is like looking the race in the face. All the nobleness 
and responsibility of his vocation comes to him. It 
is the feeling which one has had sometimes in travel 
ling when he has passed through a great town whose 
name he did not even learn. There were men, but 


not one man he knew ; houses, shops, churches, bank, 
post-office, business and pleasure, but none of them 
individualized to him by any personal interest. It is 
human life in general, and often has a solemnity for 
him which the human lives which he knows in par 
ticular have lost. And this is what we often find in 
some strange pulpit, facing some congregation wholly 
made up of strangers. 

But this should be occasional. A constant travel 
ling among unknown towns would no doubt weaken 
and perhaps destroy our sense of humanity alto 
gether. There can be no doubt that it is good for a 
man that his knowledge of a congregation should be 
primarily and principally the knowledge of his own 
congregation, certain dangers of a too exclusive re 
lationship being obviated by preaching sometimes 
where the people are all strange. It is remarkable 
how many of the great preachers of the world are in 
separably associated with the places where their work 
was done, where perhaps all their life was lived. In 
many cases their place has passed into their name as 
if it were a true part of themselves. Chrysostom of 
Constantinople, Augustine of Hippo, Savonarola of 
Florence, Baxter of Kidderminster, Arnold of Eugby, 
Robertson of Brighton, Chalmers of Glasgow, and in < 
our New England a multitude of such associations 
which have become historic and compel us always to 
think of the man with the place and of the place with 


the man. Everywhere a man must have his place. 
The disciples are sometimes set before us as if our 
pastoral life of modern times were an entire depart 
ure from their methods ; and yet they had their pas 
torates. Think of St. Paul at Ephesus. Think of St. 
John in the same city. Think of St. James at Jeru 
salem. The same necessity, may we not say, which 
required that the Incarnation should bring divinity, 
not into humanity in general, but into some special 
human circle, into a nation, a tribe, a family, requires 
that he who would bear fruit everywhere for human 
ity should root himself into some special plot of 
human life and draw out the richness of the earth by 
which he is to live at some one special point. There 
is nothing better in a clergyman s life than to feel 
constantly that through his congregation he is get 
ting at his race. Certainly the long pastorates of 
other days were rich in the knowledge of human 
nature, in a very intimate relation with humanity. 
These three rules seem to have in them the practical 
sum of the whole matter. I beg you to remember 
them and apply them with all the wisdom that God 
gives you. First. Have as few congregations as you 
can. Second. Know your congregation as thor 
oughly as you can. Third. Know your congregation 
so largely and deeply that in knowing it you shall 
know humanity. 

I have lingered too long upon the congregation as 


a whole. Let me go on to speak of that which ap 
pears to every minister as he takes a certain congre 
gation to be his congregation and comes to know 
them very well. Then the unity in which he saw 
them the first time he stood before them breaks up, 
and they are divided into various classes. Between 
that one great gathering which fills the house and the 
individuals of whom it is composed there are divi 
sions into various groups, which, with certain modifi 
cations here and there, appear in every congregation 
in the land. Let us see what they are. 

First and most prominent in every congregation 
there are some persons who peculiarly represent it 
to the world. They live in the Church, as it were. 
Their whole life is bound up in its interests. They 
may be church officers or not. They are part of its 
history and of its present life. The congregation 
goes by their name almost as readily as, in your Con 
gregational fashion, by the minister s. They are the 
persons to whom every new enterprise in church life 
looks first for approval and then for the means of its 
execution. They are what are sometimes called the 
" pillars of the Church." And such people are very 
valuable. Often their lives are very noble and de 
voted. There are people so prominently representa 
tive of churches whose life is as truly a consecrated 
life, with an ordination of its own, as any minister a 
They give a solidity and permanence to the congre- 


gallon, preserve its continuity and identity in the 
midst of the continual changes of these parts of it 
which are less firmly fixed. They gather their 
strength about the minister. They save him from 
falling into that heresy which has beset all Christian 
history and been the fruitful source of many kinds 
of woes, the heresy that the clergyman is the Church. 
They constantly remind him that the people are the 
Church, and that he is the Church s servant. I recog 
nize the value of this element in the congregation 
very heartily. I think that every parish needs such 
laymen. It would be a very loose and incoherent 
thing without them. But still I want you to notice 
the dangers that may come in connection with the 
special prominence and special usefulness of a few 
members of the Church. There is chance always of 
the Church becoming a sort of club, providing for the 
wants, perhaps, indeed, the highest spiritual wants, of 
a few, but forgetting that it has the world about it 
and was meant for all men. This is a danger which 
belongs to the very fact of a recognized body called 
the congregation. It is a danger which is intensified 
when in the centre of that body there is a core which 
emphasizes all its qualities and spirit, the congrega 
tion of the congregation. The congregation ought 
to be exclusive only, as our old professor of theology 
used to say of the Gospel, as the light in the Pharos 
was covered with glass merely that it might burn the 


more brightly and shed the more light abroad. Re 
member this danger. Give much time and thought 
uinl care to the outskirts of y^ur pnrish, to its 
and ragged fringes seek the people who just drift 
within your influence, and who will drift away 
again, if your kind, strong hand is not upon them. 
Do not spend too much time in the safe sheepfold 
where the ninety-nine are secure, while there are 
sheep upon the mountains. Be sure that nothing 
will make the core and heart of your congregation so 
solid as a strong drawing inward of its loose circum 
ference. The strong and settled men of your Church 
will value you and your usefulness to them more 
highly if they see you busy among the wretched, the 
careless, and what men dare to call the worthless 
souls. And there is another danger, I think, which 
the congregation in the congregation brings with it. 
The laymen who are most active and interested in 
church life are very often not the most receptive 
hearers. They are apt to take a few truths for 
settled, and, realizing them very fully, using them in 
their church work constantly, to ask no more, indeed 
to be hardly open to any more. They are half 
clergymen, half laymen, without the full receptivity 
and mental enterprise which belongs to either. This 
is the reason why they sometimes become dogmatic, 
and not merely do not care themselves to speculate 
or learn, but, with an honest and narrow fear, be- 


grudge the clergy and their fellow-laymen an eager- 
ness for truth which overruns their own settled lines. 
The strongest bigotry is often found among theological 
laymen rather than among clergymen. The pillars of 
the Church are apt to be like the Pillars of Hercules, 
beyond which no man might sail Dean Stanley, in 
an essay upon the connection of Church and State, 
says of the lay element in Church Synods : " The lay 
men who as a general rule figure in such assemblies 
do not represent the true lay mind of the Church, 
still less the lay intelligence of the whole country. 
They are often excellent men, given to good works, 
but they are also usually the partisans of some 
special clerical school ; they are, in short, clergymen 
under another form rather than the real laity them 
selves." He is writing on an English subject, but 
his words describe a danger which we in America 
can recognize, and which makes us glad to go on and 
find in the congregation other elements besides this 
most valuable, this indispensable one of which I have 
been speaking. 

To pass at once, then, to the other extreme, there is 
in very many, if not in all, congregations in these 
days what we may call the supercilious hearer. He 
is a man who for some reason comes to church, but is 
out of sympathy with what goes on there. He is 
sceptical about the truth of what we believe and 
preach. You come to know that hearer. You are 


sure that he is critical. You are aware that some 
safe, sonorous, and unmeaning statements, which 
some of your people will take because they have the 
right words in them and the true ring about them, 
he seizes on the moment that they fall from your lips 
and tears their nimsiuess to pieces in his merciless 
mind. Sometimes your heart has sunk as you have 
said some foolish thing and not dared to look him in 
the face, but felt sure that it has not escaped him. 
In one of his Lent discourses Massillon upbraids 
such hearers. "It is not to seek corn," he says, 
" that you come into Egypt. It is to seek out the 
nakedness of the land. Exploratores Estis, ut vide- 
atis infirmiora terras hujus venistis." Now, such an 
element in a congregation, though it may be very 
small, cannot but influence the preacher. What shall 
he think about it ? He ought to start, it seems to 
me, by feeling that the very presence of such men 
in church means something. They have not come 
wholly, certainly they will not come continually, for 
the malicious reason which Massillou ascribes. There 
is some better and deeper cause, even though the man 
is not conscious of it himself. The preacher has a 
right to believe this, and so the man s presence may 
become not an embarrassment but an inspiration* 
And then, when this is gained, he may become a help 
in other ways. He keeps the atmosphere of the 
church fresh. He makes you aware as you preach of 


the unbelief which you have no right to forget. He 
incites you with the sense of difficulty and the con 
sciousness of criticism. A parish of critics would 
be killing, but a critic here and there is tonic. He 
keeps the walls of your church from growing so solid 
that as you preach you cannot, as you ought, look 
through them as if they were glass, and preach in the 
present remembrance of the multitudes who never 
come to church, and do not know your truth, and yet 
for whom your truth is just as true and might be just 
as helpful as it is to you. This man makes all this 
real to you. He compels you to remember it. It is 
strange how the general scepticism about us may not 
put us out, or disturb us at all, while a special case 
close by us will excite us and waken all our powers. 
It is like the way in which you can go on with your 
private work or thought, perfectly well, perhaps all the 
better, for the general roar of the city, while a single 
hammer clanging under your window distracts you 
and compels you to hear it. How shall such a critic 
enter into your preaching ? What influence shall it 
have upon your sermon to know that he is there ? 
The influence, I should say, of making the whole 
sermon more true and conscientious, more complete 
in the best qualities that belong to all good sermons. 
But not the influence of changing the sermon s 
essential character. Preach the Gospel all the more 
seriously, simply, mightily if you can, because of the 


unsympathetic criticism that it has to meet, but let it 
be the same Gospel which you would pour into ears 
hungry to receive it. The two faults that you have 
to avoid in preaching to unbelief are, Defiance and 
Obsequience. One makes the unbeliever hate your 
truth, and the other makes him despise it. Be frank, 
brave, simple. There is nothing the unbeliever 
honors like belief. Let the influence of your super 
cilious and sceptical audience be primarily upon 
yourself, making you more serious and eager, then 
let it come indirectly into your sermon, not changing 
its topic, but filling it with a stronger power of con 
viction and of love. Of course I am speaking now, 
not of the sermons in which one specially deals with 
some special phase of scepticism, but only of the 
general tenor of a man s preaching in view of this 
part of his congregation. 

The next element in the congregation of which I 
wish to speak is less interesting than these two ; 
perhaps, also, more puzzling. In every congregation 
there are many people who come to church, as it 
seems, purely from habit. As with the supercilious 
hearers, it is hard to tell why they come, but not now 
because of any positive reason why they shoulJ not, 
but merely from the absence of any reason why they 
should. Such a hearer seems to be docile, but his 
docility consists in never doubting or denying what 
you say He has probably grown up in the Church 


There is more or less of the notion of respectability 
attaching to that mysterious impulse which every 
Sunday turns his steps towards the sanctuary. Prob 
ably if you could get deep enough, deeper than his 
own consciousness of its causes, you would find that 
some vague fear had something to do at least with the 
origin, perhaps with the continuance of this strange 
habit. He is no unusual sight. He comes and goes 
in all our churches. In many churches it seems as if 
such as he made up a large part of the congregation. 
Now what shall we say of him ? First of all, cer 
tainly, as we said of the critic, that we have a right 
to believe that we have not wholly fathomed the 
secret of his presence. At least we may hope that, 
however unconsciously and vaguely, the spirit of the 
place has reached him. Hoping this, you may expect 
to see the unconscious impulse develop into a con 
scious seeking, if you can intensify the spirit of the 
place, and make it more positive about him. The 
form in which the change takes place will vary ac 
cording to his character. It may be sudden and 
vehement; a conversion as true and picturesque as 
any that comes to one who, after years of brutal 
ignorance, hears for the first time the story of the 
Saviour. Or it may be very gradual, the slow, still 
drawing to a focus and quickening into fire of that 
heat which he has been absorbing, without knowing 

O O 

it, so long. There are two effects of every sermon, 


one special, in the enforcement of a single thought, 
or the inculcation of a single duty ; the other gen 
eral, in the diffusion of a sense of the beauty of holi 
ness and the value of truth. To the second of these 
effects this routine listener has been susceptible dur 
ing many a service and sermon that seemed to pass 
across him like the wind. However the awakening 
comes, there is no happier sight for any minister to 
see. It puts new vigor into him, makes him believe 
his truth by one more evidence, and teaches him that 
lesson which the preacher must know, but which he 
can only learn thoroughly out of experiences such as 
this, that it is not his business to despair of anybody. 
Perhaps, so far as the minister is concerned, this is 
the final cause of this most discouraging being s pre 
sence in the congregation. He furnishes the minister 
now and then with an encouragement such as nobody 
but himself could furnish. And, in the meantime, 
sitting there with the calm countenance which has 
faced so many sermons, if anything could sting the 
jaded and commonplace minister into freshness and 
pointedness, it would seem as if it must be this man s 
presence. He shames you and inspires you. He 
makes you feel your responsibility, and makes you 
eager not to boast of it. He reminds you of your 
duty and your feebleness. He rebukes anything fan 
tastic or unreal in your preaching. He tempts your 
plainest, and directest, and tersest truth. There is a 


prayer in an old Russian Liturgy which always 
seemed to me the very model of the minister s 
prayer, which I wish that all of us ministers could 
learn to pray continually, and which this man in your 
congregation makes you pray with double earnest 
ness, " Lord and Sovereign of my Life, take from 
me the Spirit of idleness, despair, love of power, and 
unprofitable speaking." 

But from these classes let us turn to that part of a 
congregation which constitutes its chief and most in 
spiring interest. I mean those who in any way are 
to be characterized as earnest seekers after truth. It 
is the element that calls out all that is best in a 
preacher. Very often as we read Christ s teachings, 
we can almost feel His eye wandering here and there 
across the motley crowd around Him, till He finds 
some one man evidently in earnest, and then the dis 
course sets towards him, and we almost feel the Sav 
iour s heart beat with anxiety to help some poor for 
gotten creature, who has long since passed out of the 
memory of man, but in whom on that day so long 
ago He saw a seeker. And we may say with cer 
tainty that any man who has not in him the power 
of quick response to the appeal of spiritual hunger 
lacks a fundamental quality of the true preacher. 
There are some men who cannot see bodily pain with 
out a longing to relieve it which begets an ingenuity 
in relieving it, out of which springs all the best re- 


fineraents of the doctor s art. There are other men 
who, just in the same way, perceive the wants and 
longings of men s souls, and in them is begotten the 
holy ingenuity which the true preacher uses. The 
soul quickens the mind to its most complete fertility. 
I do not subdivide this class. It includes the 
whole range of personal earnestness. The heart just 
conscious of some need, all ignorant of what it is, dis 
satisfied and restless, not alone from the uusatisfac- 
toriness of earthly things, but likewise from a true 
attraction which comes to it from a higher life, this 
heart is close beside another which has long known 
the truth and long rested on the love of Christ, but 
yet is always craving a deeper truth and a more 
unhindered love. The two hearts belong together. 
They help to throw the same kind of spirit into the 
congregation. They send up the same kind of in 
spiration to the preacher. It is good always to think 
of these two hearts together, to count your congrega 
tion, not by the point in Christian attainment which 
you conceive them to have reached, but by the spir 
itual desire and eagerness which you can perceive in 
them. We may mistake the first. We can hardly 
be mistaken about the second. Here must be the 
preacher s real encouragement. Behind all tests 
which the church-membership lists and the con 
tribution boxes can furnish, there lies the know 
ledge, which comes out of all his anxious inter- 


course with them, whether these men and women 
to whom he preaches are seeking for more truth and 
higher life. It seems as if one of the ways in which 
the Lord s beatitude about the hungerers and thirsters 
after righteousness came true was by the power to 
help them which the very sight of their thirst and 
hunger gave to those whom God had sent to be their 

And I believe that the proportion of this class in 
the general congregation is much greater than we are 
apt to imagine. In all life, and nowhere more than 
in what we say about the Church and its work, cyni 
cal and disparaging ideas are capable of much more 
clever, epigrammatic statement than hopeful ideas. 
So they have easy currency and impose on people. 
It is easy to draw the picture of the faithless or friv 
olous elements in a congregation till it appears as if 
the whole company which meets every Sunday were 
in an elaborate conspiracy to make sport of itself, as 
if a crowd of people came together to criticise what 
none of them believed, and to endure with half-con 
cealed impatience what none of them cared anything 
about. But such a picture, the more cleverly and 
sweepingly it is drawn, evidently disproves itself. If 
that were the congregation, evidently there would 
not long be any congregation. If that were what 
their meeting meant, evidently they would not meet 
again and again year after year. No mere momen- 


turn of a past impulse could carry along so dead a 
weight. No, there is in the congregation as its heart 
and soul a craving after truth. Believe in that. Let 
it give an expectant look to the whole congregation 
in your eyes. Let it fill your study as you write at 
home. And if among the elements which make up 
your great congregation you grow bewildered and 
cannot tell to which one you ought to write or speak, 
I do not hesitate at all to say let it be this one. This 
is the spirit to which if you speak you will be sure to 
speak most universally. One sermon here and there 
to those who are entirely indifferent, beating their 
sleepy carelessness awake ; one sermon here and there 
to those who are scornfully sceptical, showing them 
if you can how weak their superciliousness is, a ser 
mon fired if need be with something of " the scorn of 
scorn " ; one sermon here and there perhaps for those 
rare few whose life seems to have mastered truth 
and bathed itself in love, a sermon of congratulation 
and of peace ; but almost all your sermons with the 
seekers in your eye. Preaching to them you shall 
preach to all. The indifferent shall be awakened 
into hope ; the scornful shall feel some sting of 
shame; and before those who are most conscious 
of what God has done for them shall open visions 
of what greater things He yet may do, and like St. 
Paul they may forget the things behind and press 
forward with a new desire. 



It is from the recognition of this element in the 
congregation that the minister s perception of the 
necessary variety of Christian life proceeds. All 
earnestness emphasizes individuality. So long as 
you see no personal anxiety in your people s eyes, 
you may calmly form your own plans about them, 
make up your mind what they are to be made, and go 
to work to make them that with certain expectation 
that they will take your truth in just your way, and 
shape their lives into the mould which you lay before 
them as if it showed the only shape of Christian char 
acter. But when you feel the anxious wish of men 
and women really seeking after truth, when the cry 
" What must I do to be saved ? " sounds in your 
quickened ears from all the intent and silent pews, 
then is the time when you really learn how wide and 
various salvation is. The revival and the inquiry 
room must always widen a man s conception of Chris 
tianity, and they are only the emphatic expressions of 
what is always present and may always be felt in 
every congregation. A minister once said to me how 
strange it seemed to him that he had been preaching 
one truth in one language for years and yet the 
people who came to him moved by the truth he 
taught never conceived it in his form, nor used, as 
they told him their experience, the language in which 
he had set the truth before them. It troubled him. 
It made him wonder whether the language he had 


used was wrong and false ; perhaps, also, whether the 
truth which they stated so differently really was the 
same truth which he had tried to teach them. To me 
it rather showed that there must have been truth and 
noble reality about his words, a genuinely feeding 
power, that men should have taken them as they take 
the healthy corn out of the fields and turn it into 
all kinds of strength and work. However that may 
have been, the more truly you think of your congre 
gation as seekers after salvation, to whom you are to 
open the sacred doors, the more ready you will be to 
see each entering into a salvation peculiarly his own. 
You will be glad and not sorry when a man tells you 
what God has done for him, and only gradually you 
find that it is the truth which you told him, trans 
formed into some new shape of which you never 
dreamed, that is the new treasure of his life. 

These, then, are the elements which make up the 
congregation. They are the constant factors. In 
order to realize the congregation entirely, we must 
think of it as not closed, but open, and always includ 
ing some people who as mere strangers have wan 
dered in and taken their seats among the people who 
are always there. They suggest the outside world. 
Their unfamiliar faces remind the preacher of the 
general humanity. They are not classified at all. 
They are simply men and women. I think it is a 
great advantage to a congregation that it should have 


such an element. They are to a congregation what 
the few people who came into contact with Jesus who 
were not Jews such as the Syrophenician woman, 
and the Centurion, and the Greeks, who asked to see 
Him were to Christ s disciples. They kept men s 
conception of His ministry from closing in tightly to 
the Jewish people. This is the danger of the country 
parish, where you know everybody who comes into 
the church. You forget the mission to the world. I 
know no safeguard against such forgetfulness but a 
deep sense of the general humanity of the people 
underneath their special characters, which shall make 
them true specimens of the race, as well as the dis 
tinct individuals, whose faces, names, and ways you 

These are the elements, then. Now mingle these 
elements in your mind, and ask what sort of body 
they make. What will be the general characteristics 
of this assemblage, so heterogeneous and yet with 
such a true unity in it, which we call The Congrega 
tion ? It has the genuine solidity which comes from 
certain fundamental assumptions. It is gathered as 
a Christian gathering. It is not loose and incoherent, 
like the multitude who stood about Paul on the Hill 
of Mars, merely asking in general for what is new, 
or, more earnestly, for what is true. It has a positive 
character. It accepts a positive authority. And yet 
it is alert and questioning. The truth which it de- 


sires is open to abundant varieties of conception and 
application. It is this combination of solidity with 
vitality, this harmonizing of settled conditions with 
constant activity and growth, which makes, I think, 
the most marked character of the Christian congrega 
tion. It is an institution pervaded with individual 
life ; it is an assembly of individuals to which has 
been given something of the coherence of an institu 
tion. It is the home at once of Faith and Thought. 
Try to keep all of this character in your congrega 
tion. Remember both its institutional character and 
its individual character. Do not try to make it a 
highly organized machine, nor to let it merely dissi 
pate into an audience. Make it one without losing 
its multitude ; treat it as many, without forgetting its 
oneness. Let it be full of the spirit of authoritative 
truth, and at the same time of personal responsibility 
for thought and action. 

If we look at the Christian congregation in another 
and perhaps a simpler way, it stands as perhaps the 
best representative assembly of humanity that you 
can find in the world. Men, women, and children 
are all there together. No age, no sex must monopo 
lize its privileges. All ministrations to it must be 
full at once of vigor and of tenderness, the father s 
and the mother s touch at once. Eiches and poverty 
meet indifferently in the idea, however it may be in 
the reality, of the congregation. Even learning and 


ignorance are recognized as properly meeting there. 
However difficult it may be to do it, it is clearly re 
cognized that men ought to preach so that the wisest 
and the simplest alike can understand and get the 
blessing. Here, then, is pure humanity. What other 
assembly so brings us together on the simple warrant 
of our race ? This is what I always think is meant by 
that record of the ministry of Jesus, " The common 
people heard Him gladly." It was not the poor 
because of some privilege that belonged to their 
poverty. It was those, rich or poor, wise or rude, in 
whom the fundamental elements of human life were 
unclouded by artificial culture. Pharisee or publican, 
fisherman or philosopher, if they had not forgotten 
to be men, they were still " common people," and 
heard the human Saviour gladly. It was to their 
humanity He preached, and nothing that He knew 
of God was too precious to be brought, if He could 
bring it, to their understanding. Preach to this same 
humanity, and you too will give it your best. Trust 
the people to whom you preach more than most min 
isters do. Begin your ministry by being sure that if 
you give your people your best thought, it will be 
none too good for them. They will take it all. Only 
be sure that it is real, and that you are giving it to 
them for their best good, and that it is what, if they 
did receive it, would do them good, and then give 
them the very best and truest that you know. For 


one minister who preaches " over people s heads " 
tliere are twenty whose preaching goes wandering 
about under men s feet, or is flung off into the air, in 
the right intellectual plane perhaps, but in a wholly 
wrong direction. 

Not that there must not be discrimination : only ifc 
must not be in the quality of your thought. Never 
your best thought for the old, your cheap thought for 
the children ; never your best thought for the rich 
and poor thought for the poor. The best that you 
can give is not too good for any one ; but in that giv 
ing of the best there is need for the most true and 
delicate discrimination as to how it shall be given, 
and which part of it shall be given to this congrega 
tion and which to that. It is not a matter of rule. 
It belongs to wise and sympathetic instinct. To cul 
tivate that instinct, to learn to feel a congregation, to 
let it claim its own from him, is one of the first duties 
of a minister. Until you do that you may be a great 
expounder, a brilliant " sermonizer," but you cannot 
be a preacher. Never to be tempted to profoundness 
where it would be thrown away ; never to be childlike 
when it is manly vigor that you need ; never to be 
dull when you mean to be solemn, nor frivolous when 
you mean only to be bright ; this comes from a very 
quick power of perception and adaptation. Our 
work has always had some curious connections with 
the art of fishing. Let me quote you from Isaak 


Walton what Piscator says to Venator while they sit 
by the stream-side at breakfast, on the morning of 
the first lesson in trout-fishiug. I was struck by its 
appropriateness to the subject of discrimination in 
preaching. It may help you, if you remember it, 
when you come to " fish for trout with a worm " 
yourself, and may make no unfit rule for real timeli 
ness in the pulpit " Take this for a rule," he says : 
" when you fish for trout with a worm, let your line 
have so much and not more lead than will fit the 
stream in which you fish ; that is to say, more in a 
great troublesome stream than in a smaller that is 
quieter ; as near as may be so much as will sink the 
bait to the bottom and keep it still in motion and not 
more." Weight and movement, these are what we 
need in fishing and in preaching. 

The congregation being what it is, let me ask in 
the few moments that remain to-day, what it can do 
for the preacher, both in the way of help and in the 
way of danger. 

In the way of help, it brings him the inspiration of 
its numbers, the boldness and freedom of its miti 
gated personality, and the larger test of his work. It 
is not safe to judge of the effect of your work by any 
one individual ; but when a congregation pronounces 
on it, not by the unreliable witness of praise, but by 
the testimony of its evidently changed condition, its 


higher life, its more complete devotion, it is iiever 
wrong. Do not despise the witness that even the 
meanest of your people bear to your faithfulness or 
unfaithfulness. When it really rains, the puddles as 
well as the ocean bear witness of the shower. Trust 
your people s judgment on your work : what they say 
about it, a good deal ; but what it does upon them, 
much more. 

And I cannot help bearing witness to the fairness 
and considerateness which belong to this strange 
composite being, the congregation. His insight is 
very true, and his conscience on the whole is very 
right. If he sees that his minister is totally devoted 
to him, and giving his life up to his work, he stands 
by that minister of his and provides for him abun 
dantly. If he sees that his minister is taking good 
care of his own interests, he lets him do it as he 
would let any other man, and does not trouble him 
self about it, as there is no reason that he should. 
Whether the minister feels the congregation or not, 
the congregation feels the minister. Often the horse 
knows the rider better than the rider knows the 
horse. There may be exceptions which would not 
justify my confidence. In all these lectures I am 
only giving you the impressions which have come out 
of my own experience. I am sure it will be well if 
you can never allow yourself to complain that your 
congregation neglect you without first asking your- 


self whether you have given them any reason why 
they should attend to you. 

Indeed, the danger of the congregation to the min 
ister comes more from their indulgence than from 
their opposition. The feeling of the strongest minis 
ters about the superficialness of clerical popularity is 
very striking. Nothing seemed to vex Robertson so 
much as to be talked of as the idol of the crowd. 
Indeed, he is absolutely morbid about it, and hates 
that to which he need only have been indifferent. It 
would seem as if mere popularity, to a man of any 
independence, was the driest of all Dead Sea fruits. 
And there is reason why it should be so. It is the 
worst and feeblest part of your congregation that 
makes itself heard in vociferous applause, and it 
applauds that in you which pleases it. Robertson, 
in one of his letters, says of a friend : " He has lost 
his power, which was once the greatest that I ever 
knew. The sentimental people of his congregation 
attribute it to an increase of spirituality, but it is, 
in truth, a falling-off of energy of grasp." These 
words suggest the cause of many a minister s decay, 
the Capua where many a preaching Hannibal has 
been ruined. " Turba est argumentum pessimi," 
says Seneca. There are certain other causes which 
help to produce the impression, but still there is 
truth in the belief that much of the best thinking 
and preaching of the land is done in obscure parishes 


and by unfamous preachers. The true balance, if we 
could only reach and keep it, evidently is in neither 
courting nor despising the popular applause, to feel 
it as every healthy man feels the approval of his 
fellow-men, and yet never to be beguiled by it from 
that which is the only true object of our work, God s 
truth and men s salvation. And remember this, that 
the only way to be saved from the poison of men s 
flattery is to be genuinely devoted to those same men s 
good. If you really want to drag a man out of the 
fire, you will not be distracted into self-conceit by his 
praises of the grace and softness of the hand that you 
reach out to him. You will say, " Stop your compli 
ments and take hold." 

The subject of the popularity of ministers is indeed 
a curious one, and may well merit a few moments 
study. We hardly realize, I believe, how far the 
desire for popularity in this time and land has taken 
the place of the ambition for preferment which we 
read of in English clerical history, and which has so 
strongly and so justly excited our dislike. He who 
used there to seek the favor of a bishop, or some 
other patron, bids here for the liking of the multi 
tude. It is a question hardly worth the asking, 
which ambition calls out the lower arts or does the 
greater mischief. Both are very bad. To set one s 
heart on being popular is fatal to the preacher s best 
growth. To escape from that desire one needs to 


know that the men who are in no sense popular fa 
vorites do much of the very best work of the minis 
try. In all work there seems to be generally two 
classes of workers, one whose processes of working 
are apparent, the other whose results only appear. 
Now most popular preachers seem to me to belong to 
the first class, and to owe their popularity to that 
characteristic. Not only what they do, but the way 
in which they do it, interests people. It is not only 
the power of the truth which they declare : it is the 
eloquence of the sermons in which they declare it. It 
is not only the gracious influence they exercise ; it 
is their gracious way of exercising it, the smile, the 
tone, the transparent vision of the kindly heart. Let 
a man understand this, and it will certainly require 
no very profound philosophy or devotion for him 
to let the popularity go if he can do the work. The 
popularity is an accident : the power is essential. 

And, no doubt, the absence of lively popular favor 
has an influence in enabling a minister to apprehend 
the larger indications of the successful working of his 
truth. The people s applause emphasizes the small 
success, and tempts a man to be content with that. 
He who works in silence becomes aware of the larger 
movements of the truth and the surer conquests of 
the power of God. The small signs fail ; there is no 
glitter in the arms, no shout of triumph anywhere, 


but often the very silence lets one hear more clearly 
the great progress that is going on all over the field. 
Again, there is great difference in men according as 
they seem to possess or to lack themselves the quali 
ties and conditions which they try to create in other 
people. Some men are all afire themselves, and seem 
to fire others by contagion ; other men appear cold, 
but send forth fire from their very coldness. Some 
men are full of movement, and so make others move ; 
other men seem sluggish, and yet awaken others to a 
vitality which they do not seem to possess themselves. 

" The enormous axle-tree 
That whirls (how slow itself !) ten thousand spindles." 

In general, the popularity, the quick general sym 
pathy and admiration, will go with the first class of 
men. The others will do their work in quietness, 
with much power but not much observation. 

To be your own best self for your people s sake 
that is the true law of the minister s devotion. " Lo- 
quendum ut multi, sapiendum ut pauci " the thought 
of the few in the speech of the many that describes 
a popular power which any preacher has not only the 
right but the duty to covet. 

The whole of the relation, then, between the 
preacher and the congregation is plain. They be 
long together. But neither can absorb or override 


the other. They must be filled with mutual respect. 
He is their leader, but his leadership is not one con 
stant strain, and never is forgetful of the higher guid 
ance upon which they both rely. It is like the rope by 
which one ship draws another out into the sea. The 
rope is not always tight between them, and all the 
while the tide on which they float is carrying them 
both. So it is not mere leading and following. It is 
one of the very highest pictures of human compan 
ionship that can be seen on earth. Its constant pre 
sence has given Christianity much of its noblest and 
sweetest color in all ages. It has much of the inti 
macy of the family with something of the breadth and 
dignity that belongs to the state. It is too sacred 
to be thought of as a contract. It is a union which 
God joins together for purposes worthy of His care. 
When it is worthily realized, who can say that it may 
not stretch beyond the line of death, and they who 
have been minister and people to each other here be 
something holy and peculiar to each other in the City 
of God forever ? 


T AM to speak to you to-day upon the preacher in 
-*- his special relation to our own time. There is a 
strange sound, perhaps, when we think about it, in 
the very suggestion that the preacher of the Gospel is 
to be something special with reference to the special 
time in which he lives. For we have dwelt upon the 
one universal and eternal message which the preacher 
is sent to carry to the world. That message never 
changes. The identity of Christianity lies in its 
identity. Nay, the identity of man is bound up with 
it ; and so long as man is what he is, what God has 
to say to him by His servants will certainly always 
be the same. And so the preacher, as the bearer of 
that message, must have his true identity, must stand 
before men in essentially the same figure and speak 
with essentially the same voice in all the ages. 
Where, then, does the adaptation of a preacher to 
his own age come in ? The best answer, perhaps, 
would be, by way of illustration, in the position which 
every live and cultivated man holds with reference to 



the time he lives in. He is, in the first place, a man 
in universal human history. His are the rights, the 
duties, and the standards which belong to all men 
simply as men. In proportion as he is a strong, wise 
man this larger life is real to him. He knows that 
he will live his special life more healthily for himself 
and more helpfully to his brethren, not by forget 
ting, but by remembering his place in the general and 
continuous humanity. It will keep his sight truer 
Many times it will preserve his independence when 
it is in danger from the fleeting passions of the hour. 
But yet he lives the special life. He is a man of 
his own day, thoroughly interested in the questions 
that are exciting men around him, pained by the 
troubles, delighted by the joys, and busy in the tasks 
of his own time. His broad humanity and broad cul 
ture make him a man of all days ; his keen life and 
quick sympathies and healthy instincts and real de 
sire for work make him a man of his own day. We 
can all see the ideal completeness of such a life. 
Whenever we have seen a man at all attaining it we 
have felt how complete he was. The incompleteness 
of men comes as they fall short of this on one side or 
the other. The man who belongs to the world but 
not to his time grows abstract and vague, and lays 
no strong grasp upon men s lives and the present 
causes of their actions. The man who belongs to his 
time but not to the world grows thin and superficial. 


And just exactly this is true about the preacher. 
There are the constant and unchanging needs of 
men, and the message which is addressed to those 
needs and shares their unchangeableness ; and then 
there are the ever-varying aspects of those needs to 
which the tone of the message, if it would really reach 
the needy soul, must intelligently and sympathetic 
ally correspond. The first of these comes of the 
preacher s larger life, his study of the timeless Word 
of God, his intercourse with God in history, his per 
sonal communion with his Master, and the knowledge 
of those depths of human nature which never change 
whatever waves of alteration may disturb the surface. 
The second comes from a constantly alert watch of 
the events and symptoms of the current times, begot 
ten of a deep desire that the salvation of the world, 
which is always going on, may show itself here and 
now in the salvation of these particular men to whom 
the preacher speaks. If we leave out the difference 
of natural endowments and of personal devotedness, 
there is nothing which so decides the different kinds 
as well as the different degrees of ministers successes 
as the presence or absence of this balance and pro 
portion of the general and special, the world-con 
sciousness and the time-consciousness. The abstract 
reasoner, laying his deep trains of thought which run 
far wide of the citadels where sin is now entrenched, 
and never shatter a stone of present wickedness with 



their ponderous explosions, whatever other good 
things he may do, fails as a preacher to men. The 
mere critic of the time who, with no deep principles 
and no long hopes, goes on his way merrily or fiercely 
lopping off the ugly heads of the vices of the time 
with his light switch or valiant sword, he, too, fails in 
his work, and by and by is wearied and distressed as 
he finds the surface character of all the reformation 
to which he brings his converts. It is the first sort 
of preaching that wearies men when they complain 
of what they call a very profound but a very dull 
sermon. The second is what makes people dissatis 
fied with a sense of unthoroughness as they come 
home still mildly tingling from what they call a sen 
sational sermon. The first man has aimed at truth 
without caring for timeliness. The second man has 
been so anxious to be timely that he has perhaps 
distorted truth, and certainly robbed her of her com 
pleteness. Truth and timeliness together make the 
full preacher. How shall you win such fulness ? 
Let me say one or two general words, and leave par 
ticulars of the method to come out, if they may, all 
through the lecture. First, seek always truth first 
and timeliness second, never timeliness first and 
truth second. Then let your search for truth be 
deliberate, systematic, conscientious. Let your search 
for timeliness consist rather in seeking for strong 
sympathy with your kind, a real share in their occu- 


pations, and a hearty interest in what is going on. 
And yet again ; let the subjects of your sermons be 
mostly eternal truths, and let the timeliness come in 
the illustration of those truths by, and their applica 
tion to, the events of current life. So you will make 
the thinking of your hearers larger, and not smaller, 
as you preach to them. 

So much in general. But now let us come to this 
most interesting age in which we live and in which 
we are set to preach. I want to point out two or three 
of its broadest characteristics and see how they affect 
the preacher s work. I do not undertake any such 
task as a general estimate of the character of our 
strange century and country. I only want to indicate 
some points in it which come directly home to you 
and me, and to see, if we can, how we shall treat 
them. Let me speak of the feeling of our time about 
Truth and Life in general, about the Ministry and 
about the Bible. 

In the first place, then, there are certain vaguely 
conceived but real difficulties lying in people s minds 
to-day against which the Gospel that we preach 
strikes. We meet them in a great variety of forms. 
We find their spirit appearing in regions of intelli 
gence where there cannot be any understanding of 
their intellectual statements. The most common, the 
most wonderfully subtle and pervasive of all these is 
the notion of Fate, with all the consequences which ib 


brings with it to the ideas of responsibility and even 
to the fundamental conceptions of personal Life. 
We are so occupied with watching the developments 
of fatalistic philosophy in its higher and more scien 
tific phases that I think we often fail to see to what 
an extent and in what unexpected forms it has found 
its way into the common life of men and is governing 
their thoughts about ordinary things. The notion of 
fixed helplessness, of the impossibility of any strong 
power of a man over his own life, and, along with 
this, the mitigation of the thought of responsibility 
which, beginning with the sublime notion of a man s 
being answerable to God, comes down to think of him 
only as bound to do his duty to society, then de 
scends to consider him as only liable for the harm 
which he does to himself, and so finally reaches the 
absolute abandonment of any idea of judgment or 
accountability whatever, all this is very much more 
common than we dream. It runs down through all 
the degrees of lessening consciousness. There is 
nothing stranger than to watch how the intelligent 
speculations of the learned become the vague preju 
dices of the vulgar. You can shut up nothing within 
the scholar s study-door. For good or for mischief 
all that the wisest are thinking becomes in some form 
or other the basis upon which the ignorant live. 
Partly this, and partly a power which works just the 
other way. Partly that the learned are led on by 


their oneness with all their brethren to take for the 
subjects of their study those things to which the in 
terest of the unlearned has been turned, and to reduce 
to philosophical expression those ideas by which the 
rudest are shaping their lives. Whatever the inter 
action of the two causes may have been, the result is 
here in a certain suspicion of fatalism all around us. 
With it come the inevitable consequences of hopeless 
ness and restraint pervading all society and influenc 
ing all action, different in different natures, hard and 
defiant in some, soft and luxurious in others, but in 
all their various forms unfitting men for the best hap 
piness, or the best growth, or the best usefulness to 
fellow-men. This is what we find scattered through 
the society in which we live. This is what you have 
got to preach to, my young friends. You will not 
escape it by ministering to one class of people rather 
than to another, for it runs everywhere. You will 
leave it in the study only to find it in some new form 
in the workshop. You will silence it m the dull queru 
lous discontent of the boor only to hear it in the 
calm and resigned and lofty philosophy of the sage. 
What preaching can you meet it with ? Certainly one 
may point out the broadest features of the preaching 
which alone can meet it. It must be positive preach 
ing. There never was an age when negative preach 
ing, the mere assertion of what is not true, showed its 
uselessuess as it does to-day. It does no good to 


show the fatalist that fatalism is untenable. He does 
not really believe it ; it is only that he seems to be 
unable to believe anything else. You disprove it, 
and that only adds another to the heap of things that 
are incredible. You must preach positively, telling 
him what is true, setting God before his heart and 
bidding it know its Lord. And it must be preaching 
to the conscience. The conscience is the last part of 
our personality that dies into the death of fatalism. 
It must be the first part of us that wakens to the 
privileges and obligations of personal life. Make a 
man know that he is wicked and that he may be 
good, and his self and God s self will be realities to 
him which no juggle of words can make him believe 
do not sxist. And, thirdly, there never was an age 
that so needed to have Christ preached to it the 
personal Christ. In His personality the bewildered 
soul must re-find its own personal life. In the service 
of Him it must re-discover the possibility and the 
privilege of duty. "The haunting scepticism must be 
invaded by preaching such as this. The doubt which 
has grown up so vaguely and will give no account of 
itself must be overshadowed and undermined, over 
shadowed by the vivid majesty of God in Christ, 
undermined by the sense of sin and the necessity of 
righteousness. The only hope of its complete disper 
sion is to produce the Christian life which is its own 


assurance, declares its own freedom, and prophesies its 
own possibilities. 

I speak of this tendency to doubt concerning spirit 
ual and personal forces principally as it appears all 
through the movements of society and the lives of 
common men. I have not much to say here about 
the way in which the preacher meets it in the theories 
of science, the guesses at the philosophy of the uni 
verse which the philosophers of our time have made 
so plentifully. But nobody can listen to sermons 
nowadays and not be struck by seeing how confus 
edly the purpose of preaching and the function of 
the preacher seem to be apprehended by those who 
preach. Among the preachers who busy themselves 
with what modern science is doing and saying, w 
can easily discern several classes. One class claims 
competently to criticise the work of specialists and to 
revise their judgments, even about those subjects on 
which they ought to be authorities. It attempts to 
pronounce with competence upon the results of scien 
tific inquiry in a summary way which it would never 
tolerate with reference to its own peculiar subjects of 
study. It is needless to say how this class puts itself 
into the power of those whom it criticises. It can 
get the material for its criticism only from them. So 
soon as it leaves the field of general reasoning and 
attempts to touch the question of scientific fact, it 


must look for its facts to those who, for the time, it 
is treating as its adversaries. It is reduced to some 
thing of the helplessness to which the Israelites were 
brought when the Philistines who had conquered 
them compelled them to come to their smiths to 
sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and 
his axe, and his mattock. Another class seems to 
stand ready, not merely to disown the power of 
competent criticism, but to accept with headlong zeal 
every momentary conclusion of modern science, even 
before the scientific world itself has learned to treat 
it as more than a probable hypothesis ; and seems 
to be all the more eager to accept it the more 
entirely it seems to be in conflict with the faith of 
Christianity. No one will deny, I think, that there 
are among the disciples of natural science to-day 
some men who curiously repeat on their own ground 
every offensive and arrogant peculiarity of the priest 
craft whose historical enormities they so fondly and 
truly upbraid. It is an interesting illustration of 
how human nature is the same at heart, and, if it be 
bad, will show the same kind of badness whether it 
wear the priest s surplice or the professor s gown. 
To this overbearing assumption this second class is 
always in great haste to prostrate itself. Surely the 
spirit of both of these classes is not good. Either is 
bad, either the competence with which some clergy 
men attempt to pronounce upon the value of scientific 


theories, or the panic in which other clergymen seem 
to be waiting only to surrender to the first man with 
a hammer or a microscope who challenges them. 
There is another class still which seems to be merely 
frightened. A sense of vague inevitable danger is 
continually haunting those who feel how wholly in 
competent they are to master or even to compre 
hend the thing they fear. They hate and dread the 
very name of Science. They would really, literally, 
silence its investigations if they could. As the best 
thing which they can do, they are very apt to devise 
or to adopt some exceedingly fantastic and exagger 
ated form either of church government, or of ritual, 
or of doctrine, which they clothe with artificial 
sacredness, and then set it up to keep the advanc 
ing monster back, as they said that the Chinese piled 
their most sacred crockery upon the track to stop the 
progress of the first locomotive that came thundering 
through their land. All fanaticism is closely bound 
to fear. 

These are the dispositions with which some 
ministers meet the spirit of the day. These are the 
various classes. Among these classes comes some new 
minister, and stands and says, To which shall I 
belong ? Is there not something better than either ? 
Indeed there is. It is possible for you and me, 
taking the facts of the spiritual life, to declare them 
with as true a certainty as any preacher ever did in 


what meii call the " ages of faith. They are as true 
to-day as they ever were. Men are as ready to feel 
their truth. The spiritual nature of man, with all its 
needs, is just as real a thing, and Christ is just as 
truly and richly its satisfaction. To speak to it and 
offer Him is your privilege and mine. And yet not 
to be unregardful of what men are thinking by our 
side, to watch it, so far as we may to understand it 
all, but always to watch it with a desire to see, not 
what it will say to overthrow, but what it will say to 
strengthen and enlarge the truth we preach ; to watch 
it with a feeling that it may modify our conception 
and statement of the truth, but with no fear at all that 
it ever can destroy the truth itself ; this does seem to 
me to be the temper for the preacher of to-day. Our 
truth stands on its own evidence, but it has its connec 
tions with all the truth that men are learning so 
wonderfully on every side. To listen to what they 
learn, not that we may see whether our truth of the 
soul and of God is true, but that we may come to 
truer and larger ways of apprehending it this is our 
place. If we can take this place, it will give us both 
firmness and freedom ; it will free us alike from the 
uselessness of doubt and the uselessness of bigotry. 

I seem to see strange panic in the faces of the min 
isters of to-day. I have seen a multitude of preach 
ers gathered together to listen to one who expounded 
scientific theories upon the religious side, and making 


the hall ring with vociferous applause of statements 
which might be true or not, but certainly whose truth 
they had not examined, and in which it certainly was 
not the truth but the tendency to help their side of 
the argument that they applauded. I think that that 
is not a pleasant sight for any one to see who really 
cares for the dignity and purity of his profession. 

The preacher must mainly rely upon the strength 
of what he does believe, and not upon the weakness 
of what he does not believe. It must be the power 
of spirituality and not the feebleness of materialism 
that makes him strong. No man conquers, no true 
man tries to conquer merely by the powerlessness of 
his adversary. I think the scene which I just de 
scribed was principally melancholy because it sug 
gested a lack of faith among the ministers themselves. 
And one feared that that was connected with the ob 
stinate hold upon some untenable excrescences upon 
their faith which they chose to consider part of the 
substance of their faith itself. So bigotry and cow 
ardice go together always. 

But after all, in days like these, one often finds 
himself falling back upon the simplest truths con 
cerning the whole matter of belief. If there be dis 
proof or modification of what we Christians hold, the 
sooner it can be made known to us the better. We 
are Christians at all, if we are Christians worthily, be 
cause we are first lovers of the truth. And if our 


truth is wholly true, it is God s before it is ours, and 
we may at least trust Him with some part of its care. 
We are so apt to leave Him out. 

And there is one strong feeling that comes out of 
the extravagant unbelief of our time which has in it 
an element of reassurance. The preacher and pastor 
sees that in human nature which assures him of 
the essential religiousness of man. He comes to a 
complete conviction that only a religion can over 
throw and supplant a religion. Man wholly unrelig- 
ious is not even conceivable to him. And so, however 
he may fear for single souls, the very absoluteness of 
much of the denial of the time seems to offer security 
for the permanence of faith. 

But the main thing is to know our own ground as 
spiritual men, and stand on its assured and tested 
strength. And that strength can be tested only by 
our own experience ; and so once more we come round 
to our old first truth, that the man is behind the min 
istry, that what is in the sermon must be in the 
preacher first. 

Here must come what useful work we can do for 
those who are bewildered and faithless in these trying 
times. If you are going to help men who are mate 
rialists, it will not probably be by a scientific disproof 
of materialism. It will be by a strong live offer of 
spiritual realities. It is not what the minister knows 
of science, but how he grasps and presents his spirit- 


ual verities, that makes him strong. Many ignorant 
ministers meet the difficulties of men far wiser than 
themselves. I may know nothing of speculative 
atheism. It is how I know God that tells. 

I do not disparage controversy. Theology must be 
prepared to maintain her ground against all comers. 
If she loses her power of attack and defence, she will 
lose her life, as they used to say that when the bee 
parted with his sting he parted with his industry and 
spirit. Only not every minister is made for a contro 
versialist, and the pulpit is not made for controversy. 
The pulpit must be positive, telling its message, 
trusting to the power of that message, expecting to 
see it blend into harmony with all the other truth 
that fills the world ; and the preacher, whatever else 
he may be elsewhere, in the pulpit must be positive 
too, uttering truth far more than denying error 
There is nothing that could do more harm to Chris 
tianity to-day than for the multitude of preachers 
to turn from preaching Christ, whom they do under 
stand, to the discussion of scientific questions which 
they do not understand. Hear the conclusion of the 
whole matter. Preach positively what you believe. 
Never preach what you do not- believe, or deny what 
you do believe. Eejoice in the privilege of declaring 
God. Let your people frankly understand, while you 
preach, that there is much you do not know, and that 
both you and they are waiting for completer light. 


I must not linger longer on this topic. May God 
help you, as you meet it constantly, to be wise and true. 

Another of the questions which belong to this time 
of ours in some peculiar ways is the question of tol 
eration, the relation of truth to partial truth and 
error. This again, like every deep pervading question, 
has its form for the learned and for the unlearned. 
To the scholar it comes with the speculations, for 
which the enlarged acquaintance with other lands 
and times has furnished such abundant food, about 
comparative religion. To the unscholarly it offers 
itself in the prevailing disposition to exalt conduct 
above belief, and ask not what views a man holds, 
but what sort of life he lives. In both these cases 
the tendency of our time is no doubt towards toler 
ance. The scholar and the ignorant man alike are 
both content that their neighbors should think differ 
ently from them about religion. The very desire for 
the stake has died away. We look back to the six 
teenth and seventeenth century and wonder at the 
enormities of bigotry. We are all thankful for the 
progress ; but often as we read the books of the time, 
often as we talk with our friends, there is a misgiving 
which intrudes. How much of this toleration is indif 
ference ? How many of these people that are kindly 
to their neighbors faiths are careless about their 
own ? How much of the difference between us and 
the zealots of the seventeenth century has come from 


our weakened hold on truth ? They believed with all 
their hearts, and were intolerant ; we have grown tol 
erant, but then we do not believe as they believed. 
We must realize their intensity before we presume to 
sit in judgment on their intolerance. So often we 
are only trying to be mutually harmless. We are like 
steamers lying in the fog and whistling, that we may 
not run into others nor they into us. It is safe, but 
commerce makes no great progress thereby, and it 
shows no great skill in navigation. And then there 
conies the picture of a higher state than either the 
seventeenth or nineteenth century has reached. We 
see that here, as everywhere, mankind has been ad 
vancing in a halting and awkward way, first dragging 
one side forward, and only gradually dragging the 
other side along to meet it. There was a time when 
men were standing with their love of truth in advance 
of their love of personal liberty. We see that we are 
standing now with our love of personal liberty in ad 
vance of our love for truth. We anticipate a time 
when the love of truth shall come up to our love of 
liberty, and men shall be cordially tolerant and ear 
nest believers both at once. When that comes it will 
be a new thing in the world. It has been seen in 
beautiful or splendid individuals scattered all through 
the ages, but there has been no age in which the mass 
of thinkers were at once strong in positive belief and 
tolerant of difference of opinion. 


Now it is certainly the minister s duty to inculcate 
positive belief. We rejoice that it has also been re 
cognized as the minister s duty to foster charity and 
tolerance. In the minister, then, would seem to rest 
the hope of that better time to come when both of 
these together are to bless the world. As he goes 
about among his people he is perpetually saddened 
by their unnatural divorce. He hears some member 
of his church talk about truth. He listens to clear 
statements of the Gospel ; wise, sound discrimina 
tions ; true scriptural explanations of the mysteries 
of God and man and grace. And all uttered with a 
deep fervor which shows how the man loves the truth 
he knows. The preacher says, " What clearness ! " 
" What faith ! " and rejoices over his disciple. And 
just then some stray word drops from the glowing 
lips which shows with what a strangeness, amounting 
almost to antipathy, this believer looks upon other 
people who hold truth differently from himself ; with 
what a sense of narrow and exclusive privilege he 
treasures his orthodox belief. Or, just the opposite. 
Some hearer of your preaching delights you with his 
ardent charity for all religions, until you find that 
he has no real religion of his own. He upbraids the 
bigot without ever having dreamed of the intense be 
lief which has made the bigot what he is. In either 
case there is a disappointment in the result of your 
work as it appears in these two men. Belief and 


charity are not yet in their true association. Mercy 
and truth have not yet met together. And you set 
yourself, as you walk home from your two parish calls, 
to think what you can do to bring about their union. 
What the minister can really do is this. I give it 
in no special rules. I know none. If I did I should 
not think it worth my while or yours to come here 
and repeat the little methods of my working which 
would not help you. I only give here, as I have tried 
to all along, the principles for which the grace of God 
and your good sense, if you have both, will find for 
you the applications. The preacher can, first, always 
insist on looking and on making his people look on 
doctrines not as ends but means ; and so, if other 
men less perfectly reach the same ends by means of 
other doctrines, he will be able to rejoice in their at 
tainment of the end without doing dishonor to or 
valuing one whit the less the truth which, as it seems 
to him, leads much more directly and fully to the 
great attainment. " Master," said John, " we saw one 
casting out devils in Thy name ; and we forbade him, 
because he followeth not with us." And Jesus said, 
" Forbid him not : for there is no man which shall do 
a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of 
Me. For he that is not against us is on our part." 
I suppose the day is past when people strengthened 
their sense of the importance of the Gospel and of 
their privilege in hearing it, and of their duty to 



carry it to the heathen, by asserting that no heathen 
could be saved who had not heard it. But some 
thing of the same spirit lingers still at home. The 
grosser forms of an error will often disappear before 
its milder ones. And many men, many ministers, are 
apt to emphasize the value of the truth to themselves 
by asserting or at least implying consequences whicb 
they do not really think would follow on its rejection 
by their neighbors. The abandonment of such a way 
of thinking and talking would be a great step forward 
towards the desired union of belief and charity. 

And, again, the preacher may industriously and dis- 
criminately set himself to discern what there is good 
in the heart of the system that he tolerates, and, tol 
erating it for that good, may so keep his absolute 
standards and his love for his own truth unimpaired. 
The weakness of a large part of our tolerance for 
other systems than our own is that it is not discrim 
inating. It is a mere sentiment. It thinks that it is 
narrow not to tolerate, and so it says, " Come now 
and let us tolerate ; " but it never dissects out that 
soul of goodness in things evil or only half good 
which should make it possible to tolerate them cordi 
ally and be glad of their existence ; and so, while it 
wastes its cheap and unmeaning compliments upon 
them, it often has no real sympathy with them, and 
either despises or hates them underneath its compli 
ments. This is the kind of tolerance that haunts the 


anniversary platforms where sects are met together, 
where men seem to have forgotten that there are any 
differences between them, and from which they go 
back to their pulpits without a perceptible mitigation 
in the blindness with which they misapprehend the 
whole position of their neighbor who is preaching in 
the next street to them. Toleration as a mere fashion 
and sentiment is very feeble. It must study and ap 
preciate that which is good in what it tolerates. To 
see the positive truths that underlie the Roman Cath 
olic errors, that is the only way to be cordially toler 
ant of Romanism and yet keep clearly and strongly 
one s own Protestant belief. 

It is possible for earnest belief to be united with 
ardent charity, and it is for us who preach the 
Gospel of Christ to show the possibility in all our life 
and preaching. Value the ends of life more than its 
means, watch ever for the soul of good in things evil, 
and the soul of truth in things false, and beside the 
richer influence that will flow out from your life on 
all to whom you minister, you will do something to 
help the solution of that unsolved problem of the 
human mind and heart, the reconciliation of hearty 
tolerance with strong positive belief. 

I have been speaking of some of the intellectual 
characteristics of our time which the preacher must 
encounter. They are very prominent. But there are 
other characteristics of a different sort that force 


themselves upon us almost as much. We talk about 
the scientific character of our age. We think of it as 
wholly given up to the search after knowledge. But 
after all there is a vast preponderance of the activity 
of our time which is in no sense scientific. The com 
mercial and social and political movements which go 
on about us cannot be said, I think, to have any more 
of the scientific spirit, to show any more tendency to 
revert to facts and trust to established principles, 
than those same movements have always manifested. 
The trouble with these great continuous and univer 
sal interests of life no doubt has its connections with 
the danger which besets the study of science. What 
we have to fear is the magnifying of second causes to 
the forgetfulness of the first cause and the final cause 
of things. We need to remember as we preach with 
what enormous urgency this danger is pressing upon 
the lives of the men and women to whom our preach 
ing is addressed. The men and women are living in 
the midst of the intense but superficial excitement 
which comes of the unnatural and exclusive vividness 
of second causes. It seems to the business man as if 
Wealth were the king of everything ; as if it made 
reputation, made happiness, almost made character. 
It seems to the man or woman of society as if Fash 
ion, in some supreme reserve of queenship where she 
sits and whence her undisputed mandates come, were 
the supreme arbiter of destiny. It is the frankness 


with which men own that their views of the forces 
which govern things stop with these immediate 
causes, wealth and fashion and the pleasure of the 
senses, that appals us now. They do not even go 
through the form of recognizing some spiritual force 
farther back. " Alas, there are no more hypocrites 
now," cried the Abbe* Poulle in France in the last cent 
ury. And it was indeed a symptom. As humanity 
is constituted, when men no longer give themselves 
the trouble to make an imitation, it proves how little 
the reality is honored ; and the very carelessness of 
men about affecting any thought of higher causes is 
an indication of how the lower causes have absorbed 
the attention and are trying to satisfy the needs of 

This is the world to which we have to bring the 
Gospel, the story that begins with " God created the 
heaven and the earth," and goes on with the record 
of God s power and love until it comes to the pro 
phecy of the spiritual Judgment Day. What can we 
do to get that story of the one first cause home to the 
heart of this eager, feverish age worshipping in its 
Pantheon of second causes ? First, my brothers, 
who are to be pastors of the Church, we can take 
watchful care that the Church herself is true to her 
belief in God as the source of all power. One of the 
most terrible signs of how the spirit of sordidness has 
filled the world is the lamentable extent to which it 


has pervaded the Church. The Church is constantly 
found trusting in second causes as if she knew of no 
first cause. She elaborates her machineries as if the 
power lay in them. She goes, cap in hand, to rich 
men s doors, and flatters them and dares not tell them 
of their sins because she wants their money. She lets 
her officers conduct her affairs with all the arts of a 
transaction on the street or an intrigue in politics, or 
only shows her difference of standards and freedom 
from responsibility by some advantage taken which 
not even the conscience of the exchange or of the 
caucus would allow. She degrades the dignity of 
her grand commission by puerile devices for raising 
money and frantic efforts to keep herself before the 
public which would be fit only for the sordid ambi 
tions of a circus troupe. You must cast all that out 
of the church with which you have to do, or you will 
make its pulpit perfectly powerless to speak of God 
to our wealth-ridden and pleasure-loving time. You. 
must show first that His Church believes in Him and 
trusts Him and is satisfied in Him, or you will cry in 
vain to men to come to Him. To do this you must 
not only cast out at your doors the disreputable tinsel 
of church life of which I have been speaking ; you 
must believe in man as the child of God enough to 
preach to him at once the highest spiritual truth 
about his Father. Many a well-meaning preacher is 
all wrong here, I think. He says, " You must take 


men as you find them. You must speak to such 
faculties and perceptions as are awake in them." 
And so because he sees the economical perceptions 
very acute in our commercial time, he preaches the 
economy of goodness. He shows men how holiness 
will pay. He knows there is a higher truth, but he 
cannot trust men to hear it. He hopes to lead them 
on to it by and by. Ah, that is all wrong. There is 
in every man s heart, if you could only trust it, a 
power of appreciating genuine spiritual truth ; of be 
ing moved into unselfish gratitude by the love of God. 
Continually he who trusts it finds it there. A hun 
dred men stand like the Spanish magnates on the shore 
and say, " You must not venture far away. There is 
no land beyond. Stay here and develop what we 
have." One brave and trustful man like Columbus 
believes that the complete world is complete, and 
sails for a fair land beyond the sea and finds it. The 
minister who succeeds is the minister who in the 
midst of a sordid age trusts the heart of man who is 
the child of God, and knows that it is not all sordid, 
and boldly speaks to it of God his Father as if he ex 
pected it to answer. And it does answer ; and other 
preachers who have not believed in man, and have 
talked to him in low planes and preached to him half 
gospels which they thought were all that he could 
stand, look on and wonder at their brother-preacher s 
unaccountable success. There have always been il- 


lustrations of this. There never were more striking 
ones than in our time. With all the sordidness of 
our time, the preachers that have been the most pow 
erful have been the most spiritual. His theology has 
something of the taint of mercenarmess about it, but 
of all the great revivalists I do not know where we 
shall find any one who has preached more constantly 
to the good that there is in man, and assumed in all 
men a power of spiritual action, than Mr. Moody. 
There is nothing finer than to see a soul, which 
amazes the men in whom it rises, rise up in men, 
when he who trusts it to answer to the highest call 
speaks to it of the love of God. In all your preach 
ing echo the ministry of Jesus, who spoke to the low 
est and most sensual people directly of the everlasting 
love, and by the trust He had in them brought them 
to His Father. 

I do not think that one could rightly suggest the 
characteristics of our time which a minister encount- 
ters without naming a tendency to sentimentalness 
which shows itself in a great deal of our religion, and 
which, both directly and indirectly, does our work 
great harm. It is connected, with the other features 
of the time, with the prevalence of doubt and unbe 
lief. It is most natural that when a multitude of 
men have more or less deliberately taken up the idea 
that the foundations of faith are shaken, when they 
are afraid to say that they hold the truths of religion 


to be literally and absolutely true, when even the 
authority of religion as the lord of morality is dis 
turbed, and men are looking somewhere else than to 
God for a constant reason why they should do right, 
and wht;ii yet, with all this, the impulses of reverence 
and worship remain strong, it is inevitable then that 
a certain religion of sentiment should grow up, of 
which it is impossible to say how much it believes, but 
which delights in glowing and vague utterances of 
feeling. No one can read our hymns, whether they 
be of the rudest revival sort or the translated medie 
valisms of ritualism, without feeling what I mean 
They are very beautiful often, but, compared with 
the hymns that our fathers sang, they are weak 
They lack thought, and no religion that does not 
think is strong. It may be in reaction from the way 
in which many of the old hymns were made to labor 
with a process of reasoning that struggled on most 
unlyrically from verse to verse that the favorite 
hymn of to-day discards connected thought and 
seems to try only to utter moods of mystic feeling, or 
to depict some scene in which the spiritual parable 
is apt to be lost in the brightness of the sensuous 
imagery. I think that the same thing is true of 
prayers. A prayer must have thought in it The 
thought may overburden it so that its wings of devo 
tion are fastened down to its sides and it cannot as 
cend. Then it is no prayer, only a meditation or a 


contemplation. But to take the thought out of a 
prayer does not insure its going up to God. It may 
be too light as well as too heavy to ascend. I saw 
once in a shop- window in London a placard which 
simply announced " Limp Prayers." It described, I 
believe, a kind of Prayer Book in a certain sort of 
binding which was for sale within ; but it brought to 
mind many a prayer to which one had listened, in 
which he could not join, out of which had been left 
the whole backbone of thought, and to which he could 
attach none of his own heart s desires. 

I know that there have always been sentimentalists 
in religion. Mysticism, which at its best is a very 
high and thorough action of the whole nature in 
apprehending spiritual truth, is always degenerating 
into sentimentalism. But it is dangerous to-day be 
cause it so frankly claims for itself that it is religion. 
Disowning doctrine and depreciating law, it asserts 
that religion belongs to feeling, and that there is no 
truth but love. You will meet it surely in your first 
parish at the very door. Some of the sweetest and 
noblest natures there are sure to be full of it, and 
show it to you very winningly. Others will set it be 
fore you as mere weak self-indulgence. You will find 
many of the strongest brains and consciences in town 
separated entirely from the church because they con 
sider it, as they would say if they spoke their whole 
minds out to you, to be the very shop and banquet 


room of sentiruentalism. You cannot ignore this as 
you preach. You cannot help struggling against its 
influence upon yourself. The hard theology is bad. 
The soft theology is worse. You must count your 
work unsatisfactory unless you waken men s brains 
and stir their consciences. Let them see clearly that 
you value no feeling which is not the child of truth 
and the father of duty. And to let them see that you 
value no other feeling you must value no other feel 
ing either in yourself or them. 

It is natural for sentimentalism and scepticism to 
go together, like the fever and the chill, and the same 
mixture of deeper faith and more conscientious duty 
must be medicine for both. 

We ministers cannot help noting with interest 
among the symptoms of our time the way in which 
the preacher himself is regarded. To remark the 
changed attitude which the people generally hold to 
wards ministers is the most familiar commonplace ; to 
mourn over it as a sign of decadence in the religious 
spirit is the habit of some people. But the reasons 
of it are plain enough and have been often pointed 
out. The preacher is no longer the manifest superior 
of other men in wit and wisdom. That deference 
which was once paid to the minister s office, upon the 
reasonable presumption that the man who occupied it 
was better educated, more large in his ideas, a better 


reasoner, a more trustworthy guide in all the various 
affairs of life than other men, if it were paid still 
would either be the perpetuation of an old habit, or 
would be paid to the office purely for itself without 
any presumption at all about the man. This latter 
could not be long possible ; no dignity of office can 
secure men s respect for itself continuously unless it 
can show a worthy character in those who hold it. I 
am glad that the mere forms of reverence for the 
preacher s office have so far passed away. I am not 
making a virtue of necessity. I rejoice at it. Noth 
ing could be worse for us than for men to keep tell 
ing us by deferential forms that we are the wisest 
of men when their shelves are full of books with 
far wiser words in them than the best that we can 
preach ; or that we are the most eloquent of men 
when there are better orators by the score on every 
side ; or that we are the best of men when we know 
of sainthoods among the most obscure souls before 
which we stand ashamed. No manly man is satisfied 
with any ex-officio estimate of his character. Whether 
it makes him better or worse than he is, he cares 
nothing for it. And so the nearer that ministers 
come to being judged like other men just for what 
they are, the more they ought to rejoice, the more, I 
think, they do rejoice. But what then ? Is the min 
ister s sacred office nothing ? Does not his truth gain 
authority and his example urgency from the position 


where he stands ? Indeed they do. It seems to me 
that the best privilege which can be given to any man 
is a position which shall stimulate him to his best and 
which shall make his best most effective. And that 
is just what is given to the minister. An official 
position which should substitute some other power 
for the best powers of the man himself, and should 
make him seem effective beyond his real force, would 
be an injury to him and ultimately would be recog 
nized as an empty sham itself. I quarrel with no 
man for his conscientious belief about the high and 
separate commission of the Christian ministry. I 
only quarrel with the man who, resting satisfied with 
what he holds to be his high commission, is not eager 
to match it with a high character. The more you 
think yourself different from other men because you 
are a minister, the more try to be different from other 
men by being more fully what all men ought to be. 
That is a High Churchmanship of which we cannot 
have too much. 

I hold, then, that the Christian ministry has still in 
men s esteem all that is essentially valuable, and all 
that is really good for it to have. It has a place of 
utterance more powerful and sacred than any other 
in the world. Then comes the question, What has it 
to utter ? The pedestal is still there. Men will not 
gather about it as they once did, perhaps, without re 
gard to the statue that stands upon it. But if a truly 


good statue stands there the world can see it as it 
could if it stood nowhere else. 

There are two great faults of the ministry which 
come, one of them from ignoring, the other from re 
belling against, this change in the attitude of the 
minister and the people towards each other. The 
first is the perpetual assertion of the minister s 
authority for the truth which he teaches. To claim 
that men should believe what we teach them because 
we teach it to them, and not because they see it to be 
true, is to assume a place which God does not give us 
and men will not acknowledge for us. Many a Chris 
tian minister needs to be sent back to him whom we 
call the heathen Socrates, to read these noble words 
in the " Phsedo " which whole dialogue, by the way, 
is itself no unworthy pattern of the best qualities of 
preaching. " You, if you take my advice, will think 
little about Socrates, but a great deal about Truth." 

And the other fault is the constant desire to make 
people hear us who seem determined to forget us. 
This is the fault of the sensational preacher. A 
large part of what is called sensational preaching is 
simply the effort of a man who has no faith in his 
office or in the essential power of truth to keep him 
self before people s eyes by some kind of intellectual 
fantasticalness. It is a pursuit of brightness and 
vivacity of thought for its own sake, which seems to 
come from a certain almost desperate determination 


of the sensational minister that he will not be forgot 
ten. I think there is a great deal of nervous uneasi 
ness of mind which shows a shaken confidence in 
one s position. It struggles for cleverness. It lives 
by making points. It is fatal to that justice of 
thought which alone in the long run commands con 
fidence and carries weight. The man who is always 
trying to attract attention and be brilliant counts the 
mere sober effort after absolute truth and justice dull. 
It is more tempting to be clever and unjust than to 
be serious and just. Every preacher has constantly 
to make his choice which he will be. It does not be 
long to men, like angels, to be " ever bright and fair " 
together. And the anxious desire for glitter is one 
of the signs of the dislodgment of the clerical position 
in our time. 

There is a possible life of great nobleness and use 
fulness for the preacher who, frankly recognizing and 
cordially accepting the attitude towards his office 
which he finds on the world s part, preaches truth 
and duty on their own intrinsic authority, and wins 
personal power and influence because he does not 
seek them, but seeks the prevalence of righteousness 
and the salvation of men s souls. 

The relation of our time to the Bible is another 
subject which must interest a preacher very deeply. 
The Bible is the authority by which we preach ; and 
to find the people whom our preaching interests so 


largely uninterested in and ignorant of the source 
from which our truth is drawn must awaken some 
questions as to whether our preaching is wholly 
right. I do not speak now of the prevalent doubts 
about the Bible, though they are, of course, connected 
very closely, both as cause and effect, with men s 
ignorance about it. I speak merely of the fact of 
that undoubted ignorance. Who is there among our 
people who knows the Old Testament ? Where are 
the people that in any real sense know the New ? 

If we look for the reasons of such ignorance about 
a book which lies on everybody s table, and whose 
name is on everybody s lips, they are not hard to 
find. First there is in our time a great reaction from 
the belief that men once had in the saving power of 
the Bible. Men who have read a book not because it 
was true or because they wanted to get at its lessons, 
but because they thought it was safe to read it and 
unsafe not to read it, just as soon as the notion of 
safety is loosened from it, will be less ready to care 
for its truth and to feel its power than that of other 
books. This is human nature. The stronger feeling 
about the Bible has kept down the more familiar feel 
ing which attaches us to other books. Another 
reason is, of course, the crowd of other books, their 
cheapness and their apparent pressingness. Even 
the man who knows that the Bible is the best of 
books will read the last new treatise on religion in- 


stead of the Bible, because he knows the Bible be 
longs to all ages, and can never pass out of date, 
while with this " latest publication " it is to-day or 
never. And yet another reason is the prevalent dis 
position to consider the Bible the clergy s book. We 
wonder at the pusillanimity with which the people of 
the Middle Ages and the Eomanists of to-day have 
submitted to restrictions on the reading of the Bible, 
and to the acceptance of whatever account of it their 
preachers chose to give. The real truth is that they 
like this state of things ; and many of our Protestants 
like it too, and of their own free will treat the Bible 
so exactly as the Mediaeval Christian was compelled 
to treat it that it ought not to seem strange. And 
another reason is that the clergy, by their unreal fan 
tastic treatment of the Bible, often do what they can 
to make the people think that it is indeed unintelli 
gible except to one who holds a very complicated key, 
and so that it is not for the like of them to touch it. 
This is the evil of all unreal exegesis. It throws an 
unreal air about the book of God. I heard of a ser 
mon on the first verse of the Forty-first Psalm which 
declared it to be a statement of the mission of Christ 
and the scheme of the Atonement. Imagine a believ 
ing disciple going home after that sermon and read 
ing his Bible with the slightest hope of knowing what 
it meant ! And another reason still is our unbiblical 
preaching. I mean our preaching about all topics 


with various degrees of wisdom but with nothing 
which would suggest that what we give men is only 
a few drops out of a spring of truth and life, and so 
would send them eagerly to the fountain to drink 
their fill. 

Against these tendencies to make the Bible unreal 
and uninteresting there has come the protest of the 
new way of treating it and the new books about it. 
I know the danger of superficialness which attends 
the realistic treatment of the Bible. I know how apt 
it is to carry the mind up to a certain point of ama 
teur interest and leave it there. Certainly no one can 
praise it except as an introduction to a spiritual rich 
ness which is far deeper than itself, but in our day 
it is something to be very glad of that Milman and 
Stanley, and Farrar and the author of " Ecce Homo," 
in literature, and Holman Hunt and Bida, in the re 
gion of art, have made the outer life of the Bible live 
anew, and by sweeping aside the mist of unreality 
that hung about its door have opened the way for 
a deeper entrance into its spirit than man has yet 

There is need of every special effort to make men 
know the Bible. The Bible class, the expository lec 
ture, the illustrative picture, none of them can do too 
much. But there is yet greater need that you and I 
who preach should let the people see that we are men 
of the Bible, that we know its letter and are possessed 


by its spirit, that out of it directly comes the support 
of our own religious life and the food which we offer 
in our preaching. 

I must not let my lecture grow any longer. I 
have tried to point out to you some of the peculiari 
ties of our time which we as preachers must en 
counter. I must not close without begging you not 
to be ashamed or afraid of the age you live in, and 
least of all to talk of it in a tone of weak despair. 
In the beginning of the last century many men 
talked of Christianity as if it were an effete super 
stition. And yet behold the new life which has 
come forth since from that which men then called 
dead. The state of things which then existed may 
seem to be renewed, though it is not possible for men 
to be as wholly unbelieving in the nineteenth century 
as they were in the eighteenth. But out of what men 
now call a slow death new life will come. In many 
ways we can see clearly that it is not death, but some 
strange change and progress of the methods of life 
by which we are surrounded. To be thoroughly in 
sympathy with the age, to admire everything in it 
that is admirable, to rejoice in its great achievements, 
to see the beauty of the superb material structure 
which it is building for the better spirituality which 
is to come to dwell in it, to love to trace the strange 
nomadic currents of spiritual desire which run, often 


grotesquely or frantically, through its tumultuous 
life, to see with joy how its new needs bring out 
new sides of helpfulness in the ever helpful Gospel 
of Christ, this is the true culture of a preacher for 
our time. He believes in it and loves it, and sees its 
great strong faults against the background of its 
noble qualities. He thanks God, who sent him here 
to work ; for he is sure that while there have been 
many centuries in which it was easier, there has been 
none in which it was more interesting or inspiring for 
a man to preach. 


nnHEIlE is a power which lies at the centre of all 
-*- success in preaching, and whose influence reaches 
out to the circumference, and is essential everywhere. 
Without its presence we cannot imagine the most 
brilliant talents making a preacher of the Gospel in 
the fullest sense. Where it is largely present it is 
wonderful how many deficiencies count for nothing. 
It has the characteristics which belong to all the most 
essential powers. It is able to influence the whole 
life as one general and pervading motive ; and it can 
also press on each particular action with peculiar 
force. Under its compulsion a man first becomes a 
preacher, and every sermon that he preaches is more 
or less consciously shaped by its pressure ; as the 
whole round world and each round atom are shaped 
and held in shape by the same laws. Without this 
power preaching is almost sure to become either a 
struggle of ambition or a burden of routine. With 
it preaching is an ever fresh delight. The power is 



the value of the human soul, felt by the preacher, 
and inspiring all his work. 

The power of that motive has been assumed in all 
that I have said to you. But it seems to me to be so 
supremely important ; the ministry which is full of it 
is so rich ; the ministry which lacks it is so poor, that 
I determined, when I undertook the duty which I 
complete to-day, that this last lecture should be given 
to a serious consideration of the importance and 
value of this mainspring, which lies coiled up within 
all the complicated machinery of the ministry, the 
realized value of the human soul. 

As to its importance, we get our clearest impression 
if we look at the earthly ministry of Jesus. There 
are many accounts to be given of His wondrous work. 
People may say many ingenious things about it, and 
many of them are true. But we are sure that he has 
put his hand most certainly upon the central power 
of Christ s ministry who holds up before us the in 
tense value which the Saviour always set upon the 
souls for which He lived and died. It shines in 
everything He says and does. It looks out from His 
eyes when they are happiest and when they are sad 
dest. It trembles in the most loving consolations, 
and thunders in the most passionate rebukes which 
come from His lips. It is the inspiration at once of 
His pity and His indignation. And it has made the 
few persons on whom it chanced to fall, and in whose 


histories it found its illustrations, the men and 
women who represented humanity about Him in 
Palestine Nicodemus, Peter, John, the Pharisees, 
the Magdalen, the woman of Samaria, and all the rest 
luminous forever with its light. That power still 
continues wherever the same value of the human soul 
is present. If we could see how precious the human 
soul is as Christ saw it, our ministry would approach 
the effectiveness of Christ s. " I am not convinced 
by what you say. I am not sure that I cannot 
answer every one of your arguments," said a man 
with whom a preacher had been pleading, " but one 
thing which I confess I cannot understand. It 
puzzles me, and makes me feel a power in what you 
say. It is why you should care enough for me to 
take all this trouble, and to labor with me as if you 
cared for my soul." It is a power which every man 
must feel. It inspires the preacher ; and his hearers, 
catching its influence, become soft and ready to 
receive the truth. It is strength in the arm which 
strikes, and tenderness in the rock which receives 
the blow. 

The other motives of the minister s work seem to 
me to stand around this great central motive as the 
staff officers stand around a general. He needs them. 
They execute his commands. He could not do his 
work without them. But he is not dependent upon 
them as they are upon him ; any one of them might; 


fall away and he could still fight the battle. The 
power of the battle is in him. If he falls the cause 
is ruined. So stand the subordinate motives of the 
ministry around the commanding motive, the realized 
value of the human soul. They are the motives 
which I have had occasion to dwell on one by one in 
the course of these lectures. They are the pleasure 
of work, the mere delight in the exercise of powers, 
which is natural to any man who is healthy both in 
body and mind ; the love of influence, that gratifica 
tion in feeling our life touch another life for some 
good result, which is also natural and healthy ; the 
perception of order, that love of regulated movement, 
of the rhythm of righteousness in the lives and ways 
of men, which in its higher forms is noble, though in 
the lower it degenerates into routine ; and lastly the 
pure concern for truth, the pleasure in seeing right 
ideas take the place of wrong ideas, which may be 
quite separate from any regard for the interest of 
the person in whom the change takes place. These 
are the nobler members of the staff of the great 
general. There are more ignoble ones who volunteer 
their services and wear something like his uniform 
and cannot always be distinguished from his true 
servants ; such as emulation, and the love of fame, and 
the pride of opinion, and the enjoyment of congenial 
society. I will not dwell on those. These others are 
the real staff of the general. But when we look at 


their group, how the commanding motive whom they 
serve towers up far above them all. They get their 
highest dignity from serving him. For in his service 
each of them, which is abstract in itself, comes into 
actual contact with man ; and no abstract principle 
has shown its full power or given its full pleasure 
until it has opened the essential relations which exist 
between it and human nature. It is the great 
privilege of the ministry that it is kept in constant 
necessary contact with mankind. Therein lies its 
healthiness. Man in his mystery and wonderf ulness is 
more full of the suggestion of God than either abstract 
truth or physical nature. And so the truth preacher, 
in spite of his imperfect opportunities for study, in 
spite of his separation from the beauty of the natural 
world, has the chance to know more of God than 
the profoundest speculative philosophy or the most 
exquisite scenery of earth could reveal to him. 

Let me try, then, to point out to you what some of 
the effects will be in a man s preaching from a true 
sense of the value of the human soul, by which I mean 
a high estimate of the capacity of the spiritual nature, 
a keen and constant appreciation of the attainments 
to which it may be brought. And first of all it helps 
to rescue the Gospel which we preach from a sort of 
unnaturalness and incongruity which is very apt to 
cling to it. This is, I think, very important. Con- 
aider what it is that you are to declare week after 


week to the men and women who come to hear you. 
The mighty truths of Incarnation and Atonement are 
your themes. You tell them of the birth and life and 
death of Jesus Christ. You picture the adorable love 
and the mysterious sacrifice of the Saviour. And 
you bind all this to their lives. You tell them that 
in a true sense all this was certainly for them. I do 
not know what you are made of, if sometimes, as you 
preach, there does not come into your mind a thought 
of incongruity. What are you, you and these people 
to whom you preach, that for you the central affec 
tion of the universe should have been stirred ? You 
know your own life. You know something of the 
lives they live. You look into their faces as you 
preach to them. Where is the end worthy of all this 
ministry of almighty grace which you have been de 
scribing ? Is it possible that all this once took place 
and, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, is a per 
petual power in the world, merely that these machine- 
lives might run a little truer, or that a series of rules 
might be established by which the current workings 
of society might move more smoothly ? That, which 
men sometimes make the purpose of it all, is too un 
worthy. The engine is too coarse to have so fine a 
fire under it. You must see something deeper. You 
must discern in all these men and women some in 
herent preciousness for which even the marvel of the 
Incarnation and the agony of Calvary was not too 


great, or it is impossible that you should keep your 
faith in those stupendous truths which Bethlehem 
and Calvary offer to us. Some source of fire from 
which these dimmed sparks come, some possible 
renewal of the fire which is in them still, some sight 
of the education through which each soul is passing, 
and some suggestion of the special personal perfectness 
to which each may attain all this must brighten 
before you, as you look at them ; and then the truths 
of your theology shall not be thrown into confusion 
nor faded into unreality by your ministry to men. 
The best thing in a minister s life is the action of his 
works and his faith on one another ; his experience 
of the deeper value of the human soul making the 
wonders of his faith more credible, and the truths of 
his faith always revealing to him a deeper and deeper 
value in the soul. 

I think that nobody can preach with the best power 
who is not possessed with a sense of the mysterious- 
ness of the human life which he preaches to. It must 
seem to him capable of indefinite enlargement and 
refinement. He must see it in each new person as 
something original and new. This must be some 
thing which belongs to his whole conception of man 
as the child of God. It must not be the mere inspira 
tion of his whim, attributed in great richness to some 
lives which chance to take his fancy, but ignored in 
others. He must see it in all men simply as men. 


When he undertakes to lead them he must feel the 
mystery and spontaneity of the lives that he takes 
under his teaching. He must be a careful student 
of the characters he trains. He cannot carry people 
over the route of his ministry as a ferryman carries 
passengers across the river, always running his boat 
in the same line and never even asking the names of 
the people whom he carries. He must count himself 
rather like the tutor of a family of princes, who, with 
careful study of their several dispositions, trains the 
royal nature of each for the special kingdom over 
which he is to rule. 

Here is where the preacher and the poet touch. 
Every true preacher must be a poet, at least in so 
far as to see behind all the imperfections of men a 
certain ideal manhood from which they have never 
separated, which underlies the life and lends its value 
to the blurred and broken character of every one. A 
belief in the Incarnation, in the divine Son of Man, 
makes such poets of us all. It is interesting to see 
in how many ministers the hopefulness of this ideal 
poetic view of human life overcomes the tendencies 
of natural temperament, the discouragement of 
poverty and disease, and the disenchanting influence 
of intercourse with men, and keeps ministers the most 
hopeful class of men. They are always standing 
where, if they will, they may listen for the bells that 
shall " ring in the Christ that is to be." I have seen 


ministers try to crush back this noble tendency of 
their vocation and to assume a cynicism and a hope 
lessness which they did not feel, so that other men 
might not call them childish. And I have seen men 
of the world disappointed when they came to such 
ministers and did not find in them the childlike hope 
and trust that they expected, but only false and de 
spairing thoughts of human nature like their own ; as 
if the ice came up to the fire to warm itself, and found 
the fire ashamed of being warm and trying hard to 
make itself as cold as ice. 

I might dwell, also, on this value of the human soul 
for its own sake, as constituting the constant reserve 
of pleasure in the ministry. There are other pleasures 
in our work, as I have recounted to you already; but 
they are all, to a certain extent, dependent upon cir 
cumstances. A parish uproar which reveals the bad 
reality of life may scatter some of them. Poverty, 
which deprives you of the means of culture, and takes 
away the power of carrying out your plans, may rob 
you of others. But the mere pleasure of dealing with 
man as man, as a being valuable in himself, for this 
no peculiar happiness of circumstances is needed. 
Wherever men are, you may have it. Nobody but 
Robinson Crusoe is shut out from it, and even to 
him the man Friday is sure to come. 

And herein lies the real fellowship of the ministry. 
There are no fellow-workers who come so close to- 


gether as fellow- workers in the ministry of the Gospel ; 
and their companionship is closest when they most 
deeply know this truth of the essential value of the 
human soul. A preacher comes to me from Africa, or 
from some church of another denomination in the 
next street, which often seems farther off than Africa. 
It depends upon what the power of our preaching is, 
how near we come together. If we are both given to 
machineries, each of us valuing only what a certain 
sort of people may become under the peculiar culture 
of the denomination which he represents, then we talk 
together, however pleasantly, only over our fences, 
and shake hands, however cordially, only through 
the slats. If we both really value the soul of man, 
we understand each other ; the different methods of 
our work do not keep us apart, but bring us together, 
for they are the means by which we manifest to one 
another the deep motive which is the power of both our 
lives. The fences are turned into bridges. Certainly, 
Christian union, whenever it comes, must come thus : 
not by compromise and the adjustment of various 
forms of government and worship, but by the devel 
opment in all preachers of all kinds of that value for 
man in Christ which burrows far beneath the differ 
ences of forms and flies far above them. It may be 
given to some people in these days to take direct steps 
towards organic Christian union. I bid them God 
speed. But if that is not our task let us know, and 


let us rejoice in knowing, that we are doing, perhaps, 
as much as they for the millennium, if, in ourselves and 
those who hear us, by whatever partial name we and 
they may he called, we are doing what we can to make 
strong that sense of the value of the human soul which, 
by its very nature, is universal, and cannot be partial. 
Here is where the zealous partisan, who is at the same 
time an earnest Christian, is often working better than 
he knows. He is like a jealous farmer who prays for 
rain to water his field that it may be richer than his 
neighbor s ; but the heaven is too broad for him, and 
will not limit its bounty by the intention of his prayer. 
It will rain, but it cannot rain between fences ; and so 
his selfish prayer brings refreshment for the alien 
acres for which he does not pray. 

And as this power in the ministry lies deepest, so 
it lasts longest. The veteran preacher, I think, keeps 
the enjoyment and tries to keep the practice of his 
work later in life than the veteran in almost any other 
occupation. That always seems to me a touching and 
convincing proof of the excellence of our calling. It 
shows better and better as it grows older. The de 
lightful French artist, Millet, used to say to his pupils : 
" The end of the day is the proof of a picture " " La 
fin du jour, c est I e preuve d un tableau." He meant 
that the twilight hour, when there is not light enough 
to distinguish details, is the most favorable time to 
judge of a picture as a whole. And so it is with the 


ministry. When the cross-lights of jealous emulation 
and the glare of constant notoriety are softening to 
wards the darkness in which lies the pure judgment 
of God and the peace of being forgotten by mankind, 
then that which has been lying behind them all the 
time comes out ; and the old preacher who has ceased 
to care whether men praise or blame him, who has 
attained or missed all that there is for him of success 
or failure here, preaches on still out of the pure sense 
of how precious the soul of man is, and the pure de 
sire to serve a little more that which is so worthy of 
his service, before he goes. 

Let me follow still farther the enumeration of the 
qualities which grow up in the preacher from his 
value for the human soul. Courage is one of its most 
necessary results. The truest way not to be afraid of 
the worst part of a man is to value and try to serve 
his better part. The patriot who really appreciates 
the valuable principles of his nation s life is he who 
most intrepidly rebukes the nation s faults. And 
Christ was all the more independent of men s whims 
because of His profound love for them and complete 
consecration to their needs. There come three stages 
in this matter : the first, a flippant superiority which 
despises the people and thinks of them as only made 
to take what the preacher chooses to give to them, and 
to minister to his support ; the second, a servile syco 
phancy which watches all their fancies, and tries to 


blow whichever way their vane points ; and the third, 
a deep respect which cares too earnestly for what the 
people are capable of being to let them anywhere fall 
short of it without a strong remonstrance. You have 
seen all three in the way in which parents treat their 
children. I could show you each of the three to-day 
in the relation of different preachers to their parishes. 
Believe me, the last is the only true independence, the 
only one that is worth while to seek, or indeed that 
a man has any right to seek. An actor may encour 
age himself by despising or forgetting his audience, 
but a preacher must go elsewhere for courage. The 
more you prize the spiritual nature of your people, 
the more able you will be to oppose their whims. 
There must be the fountain of your independence. 

And here, too, is the power of simplicity and abso 
lute reality. All turgid rhetoric, all false ornament, 
all doctrinal fantasticalness must disappear in the 
presence of a supreme absorbing value for the souls 
of men. The conscience and the taste, when both are 
pure, will coincide. Every divorce which separates 
them is a parting of what God has joined together. 
The two are most essentially united in the functions 
of our sacred office. The man whose eye is set upon 
the souls of men, and whose heart burns with the de 
sire to save them, chooses with an almost unerring in 
stinct what figure will set the truth most clearly before 

their minds, what form of appeal will bring it most 


strongly to their sluggish wills. He takes those and 
rejects every other. The mere un warlike citizen goes 
lounging through the Tower of London, and among 
the old armor there he praises that which he calls 
beautiful. The soldier walks through the same halls, 
and, with a soldier s instinct, thinks no armor beauti 
ful which will not kill the enemy or protect the man 
who wears it. That is the final principle of all right 
choice, the touchstone of good taste. The sermon is 
to be sacrificed to the soul, the system of work to the 
purpose of work always. It strikes at the root of all 
clerical fastidiousness and the tyranny of order. It 
is wonderful how the character of all ornament in a 
sermon declares itself. That which really belongs to 
the purpose of the sermon is always good. That 
which is there for its own sake every pure taste, how 
ever untrained, instantly feels to be bad. The one is 
like the sculpture on an old cathedral which, however 
rude, was meant to tell a story. The other is like the 
carving on our house-fronts which is meant merely to 
look pretty, and so fails of even that. There are some 
men born to positions of such dignity that they are 
doomed to be either illustrious or ridiculous. And so 
ornament when it is applied to a sermon must either 
do the lofty work of making truth plain and glorious 
or it fails of everything. It cannot be allowed simply 
to amuse or please as may the ornament of an essay 
or a poem. 


But our principle goes deeper than this. This con 
trolling value of the human soul must save a preacher, 
also, from a narrow treatment of the souls under his 
care. If he values them more than any theory of his 
own about how souls generally are to be treated, he 
will be broad and try only to lead each into that en 
tire obedience to God which results in such different 
experiences for us all. The ascetic theorist values 
self-sacrifice for its own sake and would enforce it in 
discriminately. The theorist of self-indulgence says, 
" No, pain is a curse. Pleasure is good. Shun pain. 
Do what is pleasant." The teacher who values the 
souls which he teaches more than any theory says 
something different from either. He says, " Not en 
joyment and not sorrow, but the meeting of your will 
with the will of God, whatever it may bring, is the 
purpose of all discipline. Be ready for any way which 
God shall choose to bring your will to His." But to 
this large wisdom no teacher can be brought except 
by a true sense of the preciousness of the soul of man. 

It cannot be denied, and it must not be forgotten, 
that this absorbing conviction of the value of the 
human soul has its besetting danger. That danger is 
not slight nor casual. It is important and essential. 
The danger is lest, in our eagerness to help the spirit 
ual nature which we so highly value, we should be led 
to judge of the truth of any idea by what we think 
might be its influences on the soul for which we are so 


anxious. The tendency to estimate and treat ideas 
according to what appear their probable effects on 
human character has been, no doubt, a great besetting 
sin of spiritual teachers always. I suppose that it can 
not be wholly separated from any vocation which is 
bound at once to seek for truth and to educate 
character. This is the way in which a great deal of 
half-believed doctrine comes to be clinging to and 
cumbering the Church. Men insist on believing and 
on having other people believe certain doctrines, 
not because they are reasonably demonstrated to be 
true, but because, in the present state of things, it 
would be dangerous to give them up. This is the 
way in which one man clings to his idea of verbal in 
spiration, and another to his special theory of the di 
vine justice, and another to his material notion of the 
resurrection, and yet another to his notion of the 
Church s authority and the minister s commission. It 
is a very dangerous danger, because it wears the cloak 
of such a good motive ; but it is big with all the evil 
fruits of superstition. It starts with a lack of faith 
in the people and in truth and in God. Jesus bids 
us not to cast pearls before swine, but He does not 
bid us to feed even swine on pebbles. " God forbid," 
says Bishop Watson, "that the search after truth 
should be discouraged for fear of its consequences. 
The consequences of truth may be subversive of sys 
tems of superstition, but they can never be injurious 


to the rights or well-founded expectations of the hu 
man race." There is nothing that one would wish to 
say more earnestly to our young and ardent ministers 
than this : Never sacrifice your reverence for truth 
to your desire for usefulness. Say nothing which you 
do not believe to be true because you think it may be 
helpful. Keep back nothing which you know to be 
true because you think it may be harmful. Who are 
you that you should stint the children s drinking from 
the cup which their Father bids you to carry to them, or 
mix it with error because you think they cannot bear 
it in its purity ? We must learn in the first place to 
form our own judgments of what teachings are true 
by other tests than the consequences which we think 
those teachings will produce ; and then, when we have 
formed our judgments, we must trust the truth that 
we believe, and the God from whom it comes, and tell 
it freely to the people. He is saved from one of the 
great temptations of the ministry who goes out to his 
work with a clear and constant certainty that truth 
is always strong no matter how weak it looks, and 
falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it 

But if we bear this danger in our minds, and are 
upon our guard against it, then the value for our breth 
ren s souls will help us to avoid many false standards. 
It will give interest to many people whom otherwise 
we should find very uninteresting. There is much iu 


the minister s training to make him value purely in 
tellectual companionships. There is a tendency in 
many ministers, whose disposition leads them to value 
truth more than men, to let themselves be drawn 
almost exclusively into the society of those whose ways 
of thought are like their own. I think it is a wonder 
to many people who are not ministers, how one man 
who is the pastor of a great parish can be genuinely 
interested in so many people of such various char 
acters and lives A good many people, and even some 
clergymen, take it for granted that it is not possible, 
and treat the appearance of such universal interest as 
a pretence, necessary in order to keep up the parish 
feeling, and so a very valuable accomplishment in a 
minister. But it is not so. No man ever did it suc 
cessfully, year after year, as a pretence. The secret of 
it all is simply the great sense of the value of the hu 
man soul brought home and individualized upon these 
human souls committed to our care, as a magistrate 
sees all the dignity of the law represented in the set 
tlement of the petty quarrel that is brought before his 
court. The large conception of the value of humanity 
must go before the special value of one s own parish 
ioners, otherwise the pastoral relation softens into 
mere personal fondness, or else hardens into a rigid 
and formal treatment of the people according to arbi 
trary classifications which lose alike their general 
humanity and their personal distinctness. There is a 


ministry which is all the more personal because of its 
broad humanness ; a ministry which, beginning with 
the sacredness of man, counts all men sacred, and 
touches, with its own peculiar pressure upon each, the 
lives of strong men and little children, of women and 
boys and girls, of working-people and people of idle 
lives, of saints and sinners, as the rain and dew of 
God which water the earth feed both the oak-tree and 
the violet; a ministry which makes its care for every 
soul dearer and more sacred to that soul because it is 
evidently no mere personal fondness, but one utter 
ance of that Christliness which deeply feels the 
preciousness of the souls of all God s children. 

I have not time to dwell upon the help which a per 
petual value for the souls of men must render to our 
own spiritual life, and so to our efficiency as preachers. 
Indeed, it is the great power by which our souls must 
grow. This is the ministry of the people to the 
preacher, which is often greater than any ministry 
that the preacher can render to the people. I assure 
you that the relation between the pastor and his parish 
is not right if the pastor thinks the obligation to be 
all upon one side ; if while he lives with them and 
when he leaves them he is not always full of gratitude 
for what they have done for him. A pastor who is in 
sensible to this cannot do the best good to his people. 
And the sort of help which a minister gets from his 
congregation whose souls he values is a direct com- 


plement of the good which he gets from his study. 
He needs them both. His study furnishes him with 
ideas, with intellectual conceptions, and his congrega 
tion furnishes him with an atmosphere in which these 
ideas ripou to their best result. The minister as he 
grows older changes some of the opinions which he 
used to hold. The new opinions, it is to be hoped, are 
truer than the old ones. But greater than all such 
changes are the deepening convictions about all spirit 
ual things which come from the long years of deal 
ing with men s souls and which color every opinion 
whether new or old. The conviction that truth and 
destiny are essential and not arbitrary, that Chris 
tianity is the personal love and service of Christ, and 
that salvation is positive, not negative, convictions 
such as these they are that fill and richen the 
preacher s maturer years ; and they are convictions 
whose clearness and strength he owes to that occupa 
tion which has both demanded and cultivated a 
value for the souls of men. 

As to the nature of this value for the human soul, 
notice, I beg you, that it is something more than the 
mere sense of the soul s danger. It is a deliberate 
estimate set upon man s spiritual nature in view of its 
possibilities. The danger in which that nature stands 
by sin intensifies and emphasizes the value which we 
set upon it, but it does not create that value. I think 
that this is important. I think that we are sometimes 


apt to let our anxiety for the salvation of souls de 
generate into a mere pity for the misery into which 
they may be brought by sin ; and the result of such a 
low thought is that when we have been brought to 
believe that a soul is, as we say, " safe," that it has 
been forgiven and will not be punished, we are satis 
fied. The thought of rescue has monopolized our 
religion and often crowded out the thought of culture. 
I think that the tone of the New Testament is different 
from this. I know how eminently there the truths 
of danger and rescue always appear. I know that 
Christ " came not to call the righteous but sinners to 
repentance," and that He was called Jesus because He 
should " save His people from their sins " ; but all the 
time behind the danger lies the value of that spiritual 
nature which is thus in peril. It is not solely or princi 
pally the suffering which the soul must undergo ; it is 
the loss of the soul itself, its failure to be the bright 
and wonderful thing which, as the soul of God s child, 
it ought to be. That is the reason why the process 
of salvation cannot stop with the removal of penalties 
and the forgiveness of sins. It must include all the 
gradual perfection of the soul by faith and love and 
obedience and patience. This is the reason, too, why 
those who have taken only a half view of the complete 
salvation are apt to be severe on those who have seen 
only the other half. Half a truth is often more 
jea]ous of the other half than of an error. 


This larger and deeper value for the human soul, I 
think, is seen in all the sermons of the greatest 
preachers. It is not mere pity for danger that in 
spires them to plead with men. That might move 
them to a sort of supercilious exertion, no matter 
how intrinsically worthless was the thing in peril, as 
one might start up to pluck even an insect from the 
candle s flame. But it is a glowing vision of how 
great and beautiful the soul of man might be, of 
what great things it might do if it were thoroughly 
purified and possessed by the love of God and so 
opened free channels to His power. 

There are special causes which make this great 
power of which I have been speaking, the sense of the 
value of the soul, more difficult to win and keep in 
this age of ours than it has been in many other times. 
There are two characteristics of our time which have 
their influence upon it. One is the tendency of philo 
sophy to divert itself from man and turn towards 
other nature, and in its study of man to busy itself 
least with his spiritual nature, most with his physical 
history. The other is the strong philanthropic dis 
position which prevails about us, the desire to relieve 
human suffering and to promote human comfort and 
intelligence. The first of these tendencies would cer 
tainly make it more than usually hard to realize the 
spiritual value of humanity ; and the second, while it 
makes much of man, cares mainly for his material 


well-being and is always disposed to treat the indi 
vidual as subservient to the interests of the mass. 
The general result is one of which I think that there 
can be no doubt, a difficulty in the real, vivid per 
petual sense of the worth of man s spiritual nature 
such as has very rarely beset those in other ages 
who have tried to serve their fellow-men. At such 
a time we need to hold very strongly to the constant 
facts of human life which lie below all such temporary 
changes, and to be very sure of their reappearance. 
We need a keen, quick-sighted faith which shall 
discover the first signs of what must surely come, a 
reaction from the partial tendencies of the time. 
We need a generous fairness to discover thought and 
feeling which is really spiritual, but which has 
cloaked itself, even to its own confusion, in the forms 
and phrases of the time. 

But, more than all of these, we who are preaching 
in such days as these need to understand these 
methods by which in any time we must acquire and 
preserve the sense of the preciousness of the human 
soul. What are these methods ? First of all, before 
a man can value the souls of other men, he must 
have learnt to value his own soul. And a man 
learns to value his own soul only as he is conscious 
of the solemn touches of the Spirit of the Lord upon 
it. Ah, my friends, here is the real reason why he 
who preaches to the inner life of others must himself 


have had an inner life. Not that he may take his 
own experience and narrowly make it the type to 
which all other experiences must conform, but that 
having learnt how God loves him, having felt in many 
a silent hour and many a tumultuous crisis the pres 
sure of God s hands full of care and wisdom, he may 
know, as he looks from his pulpit, that behind every 
one of those faces into which he looks there is a soul 
for which God cares with the same thoughtfulness. In 
his closet he has first seen the light which from his 
closet he carries forth to illuminate the humanity 
of his congregation and bring out all its colors. The 
personal desire to be pure and holy, the personal 
consciousness of power to be pure and holy through 
Christ, reveals the possibility of other men. 

Again, a preacher s view of all theology ought to 
be colored with the preciousness of the human soul. 
It is possible for two men to hold the same doctrine 
and yet to differ very widely in this respect. To one 
of them the Christian truths reveal much of the glory 
and mercy of God, to the other they shine also with 
the value of the spiritual manhood. To this last the 
Incarnation reveals the essential dignity of that nature 
into union with which the Deity could so marvel 
lously enter. The Redemption bears witness of 
the unspeakable love of God, but also of the value 
underneath the sin of man, which made the jewel 
worth cleaning. And all the methods of Sanctifica- 


tion, all the disciplines of the Spirit, open before the 
watchful minister new insight into the possibilities of 
that being upon whom such bounty of grace is 
lavished. I think that we ought to distrust at least 
the form in which we are holding any theological 
idea, if it is not helping to deepen in us the sense of 
the preciousness of the human soul, first impressing 
it as a conviction and then firing it into a passion. 
There is not one truth which man may know of God 
which does not legitimately bear this fruit. I beg 
you more and more to test the way in which you 
hold the truth of God by the power which it has to 
fill you with honor for the spiritual life of man. 

It is evident as we look at the ministry of Jesus 
that He was full of reverence for the nature of the 
men and women whom He met. There was nothing 
which He knew of God which did not make His 
Father s children precious to Him. We see it even 
in His lofty and tender courtesy. How often I have 
seen a minister s manners either proudly distant and 
conscious of his own importance, or fulsome and 
fawning with a feeble affectionateness that was un 
worthy of a man, and have thought that what he 
needed was that noble union of dignity and gentle 
ness which came to Jesus from His divine insight 
into the value of the human soul. 

One other source from which the knowledge of this 
value comes let me mention in a single word. It is 


by working for the soul that we best learn what the 
soul is worth. If ever in your ministry the souls of 
those committed to your care grow dull before you, 
and you doubt whether they have any such value that 
you should give your life for them, go out and work 
for them ; and as you work their value shall grow 
clear to you. Go and try to save a soul and you will 
see how well it is worth saving, how capable it is of 
the most complete salvation. Not by pondering upon 
it, nor by talking of it, but by serving it you learn its 
preciousness. So the father learns the value of his 
child, and the teacher of his scholar, and the patriot 
of his native land. And so the Christian, living and 
dying for his brethren s souls, learns the value of 
those souls for which Christ lived and died. 

And if you ask me whether this whose theory I 
have been stating is indeed true in fact, whether in 
daily work for souls year after year a man does see 
in those souls glimpses of such a value as not merely 
justifies the little work which he does, but even 
makes credible the work of Christ, I answer, surely, 
yes. All other interest and satisfaction of the 
ministry completes itself in this, thab year by year 
the minister sees more deeply how well worthy of 
infinitely more than he can do for it is the human 
soul for which he works. 

I do not know how I can better close my lectures 
to you than with that testimony. May you find it 


true in your experience. May the souls of men be 
always more precious to you as you come always 
nearer to Christ, and see them more perfectly as He 
does. I can ask no better blessing on your ministry 
than that. 

And so may God our Father guide and keep you 



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"Many have said to me, He s the best hand at a children s address that I have 
ever come across : that s pretty big praise. Mr Charnley hai the gift of 
being able to talk to children about the highest thing! In a way that 
arrests. I advise preachers, Sunday School workers, and parents to 
buy the book." 



and twenty other Stories and Parables told to the Children. By 
the Rev. J. ERNEST PARSONS. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3*. 6d. net. 

The author says : "Years of work among young folks have convinced me that 
the quickest and surest path to the child-heart is through the avenue of the imagina 
tion. Hence these stones and parables." 

The publisher says: "They are first-rate and will be very useful to speakers." 


THE TORCH CATECHISM : Being the Faith of 

Jesui interpreted for little children. By Ross CUTHBKRT. 
Printed in bold clear type, 6d. net ; by post 7d. 

Scottish Churckts Ttaektrt Magaxint. " It expresses the essentials beautifully 
and simply in thirty-nine questions and answers. There are several pages of use 
ful notes for teachers. " 
London Quarterly Rtvitw. "The questions are simple, the answers clear." 


ARTHUR H. DUNNETT, B.D. Second Edition. 32010, paper, 
6d. net ; by post yd. 

Lift and Work. " The little book is one which parents might use with great 

profit with their children, and which the children might learn to use by themselves." 

JCiimarnack Standard. " Mr Dunnett has rendered a real service to parents, 

teacher*, and ministers, not less than to children by the preparation of this little 

volume." ____________^___^ 

H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.G. 



BROOKS, D.D. Crown 8yo, cloth, 55. net 

CONTMNTS : The Two Elements in Preaching ; The Preacher Himself; The 
Preacher in His Work ; The Idea of the Sermon ; The Making of the Sermon ; Th 
Congregation ; The Ministry for our Age ; The Value of the Human Soul. 

Expftittry Times. " A book of permanent value. " 

Church Times. "Well worth reading and re-reading by young clergy. Thy 
an hardly study th great preacher s methods without learning much, very much, 
t help and strengthen them." 

Mithedist Times. "We hare more than once commended this delightful book. 
There is no preacher, hardly any public speaker, who can read these lectures with 
out learning something profitable. We wish all our preachers could own, and make 
their own, the sterling truth of this delightful and valuable book." 


PHILLIPS BROOKS, D. D. Uniform with "Lectures on Preaching." 
Crown 8vo, cloth, 53. net. 

CONTENTS: The Influence of Jesus on the Moral Life of Man ; The Influence 
of Jesus on the Social Life of Man ; The Influence of Jesus on the Emotional Life 
of Man ; The Influence of Jesus on the Intellectual Life of Man. 

Exftsitory Times. "The Influence of Jesus is theologically the most char 
acteristic of all Bishop Brooks works. Mr Allensoa has given us a new and attractive 



Thirty-seven Object Sermons with many illustrative Anecdote*. 
By the Rev. GEORGE V. REICHEL, M.A. Crown 8vo, cloth, 55. 
net. New Edition. 

British Weekly. " It is rather a nice book, and will be very useful to teachers and 
those who preach to children. The merit of the velume is that it has freshness." 

S.S. Ckrtnicle. " It is thoroughly modern and alert. There is nothing 
hackneyed and stereotyped in its pages. Its author is full of information and of 



the R*v. JAMES LEARMOUNT. Crown 8vo, cloth, 55. net. 

The same splendid fund of illustration will be found here as in the previous six 
successful volumes by this author. 

Belfast News Letter. " Mr Learmount has so fully justified his claim to be a 
writer of most suitable addresses for young people that all that is necessary to say 
with regard to the present volume is that it is equal to any of the previous six he has 
published. We have read all Mr Learmount s publications, and know nothing more 
fitting for pulpit adaptation than his talks to those of tender years." 



preached in Carr s Lane Chapel, Birmingham. By the RCY. 
SIDNEY M. BERRY. Crown 8ro, cloth, 75. 6d. net. 
The predominant note in these fine sermons is their relation to experience, they 
art practical and reflect a most helpful ministry. 

H. R. ALLEN SON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C. 



Rev. R. C. GILLIE, M.A. Neat cloth, fcap. 8vo, 2s. net. 

British Cangregationalist. " These addresses are some of the best we have lets. 
Several of them are allegories, and in these Mr Gillie especially excels." 



Rev. R. C. GILLIE, M.A., Author of "Little Sermons to th 
Children." Fcap. 8vo, cloth, 2s. net. 

Mr Gillie in the most happy manner imaginable has struck an altogether new 
note in these Temperance Talks. Taking in the first series six of the Old Eastern 
Fairy Tales as the basis of hi^ talk, he weaves the lesson into the fabric of the story 
in a most winsome manner. In the second series he introduces A NBW WAY WITH 
OLD LRSSONS, and deals simply and interestingly with the young student s search for 
alcohol in Geography, History, English Literature, etc. This book is altogether an 
innovation in Temperance Literature. 

Front tarly Reviews. "Admirable," "Excellent," "Capital," "New and faf 
cinating," "Novel," " Fresh," " Charming," " Will serve admirably as models." 


By Rev. R. C. GILLIE, M.A. Neat cloth, fcap. 8vo, 2s. net. 

Scotsman. "Ministers who have difficulty in preaching to children will find 
Little Sermons to the Children an extremely valuable and suggestive book." 

Shifoeld Independent. "There are twenty sermons. Each is of sterling value, 
But in addition, there is an introdution on The Art of the Little Sermon, and 
a conclusion, The Sermon in the Child. Each of these should be read by every 
man who is of opinion that he has received a call to the pulpit. They are not far 
removed from the best sixteen pages that the parson can be invited to read. The 
man who will read them and thoroughly assimilate them will be a worthier man 
than ever before." 


WANTED A BOY: And other Addresses. By the 
Rev. G. C LEADER. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. net| 
by post, 2s. lod. 

Ytrkihire Observer. "Mr Leader understands boys, and his addressei are 
particularly appropriate." 
Lijt tj Faith. " This is a manly book for manly boys." 


LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD: Twenty Talks with 

Boys and Boy Scouts. By the Rev. E. W. SHEPHEARD- 
WALWYN. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. net ; by 
post, 2s. lod. 

Fine sympathy with boy nature is found throughout this book. Mr Shepheard- 
Walwyn ii in great demand to speak at School Gatherings, and this book will easily 
testify the reason why. Twenty first-rate Talks 

THE KING S SCOUT: And Twenty-one other 
Talks with Children. By Rev. H. G. TUNNICLIFF, Author 
of " Wet Paint." Handsome cloth, fcap. 8vo, 2s. net. 

Mr TanniclifTs "Wet Paint" was quickly recognised as a really fresh and happy 
addition to the growing volumes of children s addresses. "The King s Scout" u 
splendid collection of addresses upon Hiblical characters. Altogether good. 


H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C. 



Eighteen Constructive Blackboard Talks to Children. By the 
Rev. G. W. EWART, M.A. With eighteen full-page demonstra 
tions. Crown 8vo, stout paper wrapper, 35. 6d. net ; by post 
3$. lOd. 
A very able and suggestiv* volume, the result of many years of experience in 

dealing with children. The demonstrations will enable the least skilled to make an 

attractive cartoon or blackboard drawing. 


THE STARVED TOP-KNOT. Seventeen Chats 
with Boys and Girls. By the Rev. E. \V. SHKPHEARD-WALWYN. 
Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net ; by post 2s. lod. 
Scotsman. "Chatty, practical addresses. 

Irish Presbyterian. "Straightforward manly chats, in very modern lingo, not 
too preachy. Full of fresh illustrations." 



8vo, cloth, 2s. net ; by post 2s. 3d. 

Primitive>-. " If you want to give a missionary address that 
the child can understand, get this book." 

The Ckristiatt. " Vividly told, a striking incident from each of the twelve 


T. J. WALKER, M.A. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net; by post 

2S. IOd. 
Tkt Challenge." Really a little heart-to-heart talk on the subject of preaching." 



of " His Little Bit o Garden. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. net. 
Twenty years residence on a lonely farm in Australia, a voyage to England by 
way of Ceylon and Central Africa form the background of Miss Hill s capital new 
story. Altogether a fair field for Michael s quest of hii uncle who has fought in th 
Great War and lost his memory. How he is traced by his nephew, aided by varioui 
missionaries and natives, makes an absorbing missionary romance. 



JOHN APPLEYARD, M.A., D.Litt. With a Foreword by the Rev. 
F. B. MEYER, D.D. Foolscap 8vo, cloth, 2s. net. 

Dr MBYER says : " It is a great blessing to walk through life in fuch company^; 
and next to visible companionship, we may be thankful for the recounting of his 
personal experiences, as herein let down." 



ROBERTSON BROWN. Paper covers, is. net; neat cloth, is. 6d. net. 

S.S. Times. "A woman student s message to the students, present and past of 
Lady Margaret, Oxford, and pleadi for a wise choice among the clamoroui claims 
that press upon us all." 

Aberdeen fr ret Press. "Pleads for honesty, sincerity and contentment. Mw 
Brown writes finely and with true insight about friendship and faith." 


H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, 114 Fleet Street, E.C. 




for Young and Old. By L. E. RICHARDS, Author of "Captain 
January." Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 55. net 

THE BISHOP OF LONDON ha. made linking useof someoftheso parable,!. 
hu recent book "Joy in God." The Bisbop in one reference says, " I was readinr 

,?*7 1 C , J lr ~, b ,?J S J of the . Ch P el RT*1 charming little story out of a book 
called the Golden Windows. He proceeds to tell the story. Again, when speak- 
ing to the girls of St Paul s School, the Bishop says, " I was very much struck with 
a beautiful story in a book called The Golden Windows.* I should like to leave 
this a, my last picture on your mind." Then he told them " The Wheatfield," one 
of th many gems the book contains. 

Rev. BHNARD J SNBLL writes :-" I regard Golden Windows as the most 
charming book that has come into my hands for many years. Every little casket of 
a itcry holds a gem of a truth. How in the world is it so slow in getting known? " 


THE SILVER CROWN. Another Book of Fables. 
By LAURA E. RICHARDS. Handsome cloth, 55. net. 

The Rev. G. A. JOHNSTOM Ross, M. A., writes : I am charmed by thesetit-biu 
f the knowledge of life, they are chosen so shrewdly, humorously, fairly: they aro 
ervd up so daintily : and they taste so sweet. They will willingly be taken by the 

Bttist Ttmet." Exceedingly short, delicate in structure, graceful in style, full 
I tho wisdom of life. Each parable containi material for a fascinating and in- 
ttructive adres 


FIVE-MINUTE STORIES. A Charming Collection 

of ioi Short Stories and Poems. By LAURA E. RICHARDS, 

Author of "Golden Windows." Square crown 8vo, illustrated* 

handsome cloth, 7s. 6d. net. 

Though primarily a book for children, it contains a wealth of stories that will catch 

the children i attention immediately if used from tht Platform or Pulpit. Two of the 

stories. " Buttercup Gold "and "The Money Shop," alone are worth the price of 

the whole book. 

Glasftw Hirald." Mommy cannot possibly go wrong if she at once procures it " 
Tht Church Tines." Five-minute Stories is one of those volumes which the 

relatives of young folk are glad to fall back upon when the request Please do tell ui 

another story finds them at a loss." 
Britith Wttkly. "Every variety of itory i* to b found in this volume to rait 

ovary mood of every child." 



H. G. TUNNICLIFP, B.A. A Children s Parable in Twenty-two 

Chapters. Crown 8vo, paper covers, 2s. 6d. net ; cloth, 35. 6d. net. 

CtristiK* World. Lucky, indeed, were the children in Mr Tunnicliff s con 

gregation who heard this exciting Serial week by week. The Road of Adven- 

turo is a capital example of the serial type of children s address. It could hardly 

fail to be for it is simply an imitation of The Pilgrim s Progress, with children fo 

H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C, 


THE GLORY IN THE GREY, Forty-two Talki 
on Every-day Life and Religion. By the Rev. ARCHIBALD 
ALEXANDER, M.A., B.D. Tenth Edition. Handsome cloth, 
crown 8vo, 55. net. 

The late Dr ALEXANDER WHYTK. " I have spent a delightful and a refreshed 
vening over your book. And I thought again and again what an excellent 
rift book The Glory in the Grey would be. Your took has choice literature 
in it, fine feeling, a gracious glow throughout, and withal a great body of lound 
tense sanctified." 

Dr GKORGK H. MORRISON." I cannot refrain from writing to congratulate 
you on the book. Its freshness, variety, suggestiveness, and poetry have fascinated 
me. It teems to me one of the best things I have read for years. All success to 
it. I hare found it a little haven of rest in these troublous times. 

r* Glasgow tJtrald. "This ii a kook of hope, a tonic for the dejected and 
dispirited. The author has very successfully concentrated his attention on drawing 
out the elements of glory, of purpose, from the grey experiences of lif. Obviously 
the man who can do this has a peculiarly suitable message for the present day : tni* 
on* could scarcely be sent out more opportunely. The talks are all i&ort , m 
odd moments the book may be opened at random, and one it safe to say the reader 
will find something to sanction his faith m the healing forces of life. This book; 11 
cure of success." 

A DAY AT A TIME. Thirty Talks on Life and 
Religion. By the Rev. ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, M.A., B.D. 
Fourth Edition. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 33. 6d. net. 

Dr JOHN KKLMAN. " I find it everywhere an excellently timely and helpful 
Tolume. Its common-sense, good humour, and genuine humanness of out 

nd of expression are very refreshing and wholesome. It is the sort of book which 
ii needed by large numbers of people, and it will do real service to the spiril 
the nation." 

Tk4 Lift tf Faith. " When Mr Alexander produced his first book, The 
Glory in the Grey, we were unstinted in our praise of its value and w< s can gi- 
as cordial a welcome to the present volume. There la gomethlng bracing and 
Xhllaratlng In these tlk, which will commend them to many people 
quest of tonic." 

THE STUFF OF LIFE. Forty-two brief Talks on 
Daily Duty and Religion. By ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, M.A., 
B.D. Third Edition. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 53. net. 

Dr T R P SCLATKR. " Mr Alexander s latest book should prove a boon to 
hi. fellow-ministers and to others who have to speak on religion. Its range, 
iuggestiveness, aptneis of quotation and illustration give it a distinction all its ow 

Local Preacher , Magatine" Good stuff, too, stuff which rightly used will 
rnak. fufeboif brighter and better. One feel, that the authorjoiowi what he i. 
talking about, and knows too, the need of those he is talking to. 

Ckristian Wtrld.-" This third book has the same qualities. Mr Alexander 
It the apostle of the homely virtues, the commendator of the commonplace, th 
Mer of the romance of routine." 

GlMSfew w* i> 7YfM.-"Hecatchei yon and holds you till he has said hi. 
y on every theme." _^____ 


H. R. ALLEN SON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C. 


By the Rev. T. E. MILLER, M.A. Crown 8vo, handsome 
cloth, 55. net. {Third Edition. 

Mr Miller modestly speaks of his book as consisting of a seriei of 
Character-sketches. Such an attitude towards his own work is no doubt 
becoming, but it in no way describes or suggests the rich qualities of 
imagination and common-sense which together make his lectures a most 
vivid portrayal of the old-world incidents associated with the subjects of 
his addresses. Readers of these thorough studies will find themselves 
transported into the times of sacred history, accompanied by a most able 
guide and interpreter. 

WHAT JESUS TEACHES. Lessons from the 

Gospels for Girls of To-day. By MARY Ross WEIR. Handsome 
cloth, crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. net. 

The author of this book has for a long time been conducting a Young 
Women s Bible Class, and in " What Jesus Teaches " she gives her own 
contribution towards what she has often felt to be a real want, viz. a book 
suitable to put into the hands of an intelligent girl, perplexed by the many 
problems, both intellectual and practical, that meet her in life. 

GOD S GENTLEMEN. Vigorous Sermons to Young 
Men. By Prof. R. E. WELSH, M.A., D.D., Author of "Man 
to Man," etc. Sixth Edition. Handsome cloth, crown 
8vo, 5$. net. 

British Weekly. " This is a frank and manly book, stamped with a strong and 
sympathetic vitality. Young men will read it because it never ignores the other 
ide of the question. Any author who brings a young man face to face with life, 
weighs good and evil before him in the balance, has done a work which will not be 
forgotten. " 

Dundee Arlvtrtistr. "A series of ethical essays of rare value strongly commended 
as a gift book for men, whether young, old, or middle-aged. The man who would 
fly a sermon could not fail to be attracted by the fin* flow of language and by the 
noble aims and sane admonitions of the author." 



Mrs L. C. E. MARSHALL. Neat cloth, fcap. 8vo, 2s. net. ; by 
post, 2s. 2d. 

Twenty-four most useful suggestive papers for speakers. 

The BISHOP OF ELY sayi : "They seem to me models of what addresses to 
mothers should be simple, practical, earnest, devout, brightened by touches of 
poetry and humour." 

Tht Christian. " It is a pleasure to call attention to so useful a little work. 
Even experienced workers will find in its pages much that is suggestive." 

BREAD FROM HEAVEN. Addresses to Com 
municants. By LUCY C. E. MARSHALL, Author of " Homely 
Talks to Mothers." Neat cloth, fcap. 8vo, 6d. net ; by post, yd. 

The same qualities of beautiful interpretation which characterised 
1 Homely Talks " is abundantly evident in these new addresses. 


H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C. 


UNDER THE BLUE DOME. A Series of Open- 
Air Studies with Young Folk. By Rev. J. S. HASTIK, B.D. 
Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 35. 6d. net 











S S. Chronicle. " As a sanctified study of nature it a one of the freshest books 
of it s kind we have seen for a long time. We congratulate Mr Hastie, and cordially 
rcommend ministers, superintendents, and teachers to peruse this book, and then to 
go and do likewise." 


THE WONDERFUL RIVER. Sixty-three Talks 

to Young People. By Rev. JOHN A. HAMILTON, Author of 
" A Mountain Path." Crown 8vo, cloth, 55. net. 

Dr HASTINGS, in Expository Times, says : " Mr Hamilton has returned to what 
il manifestly his special gift and how priceless a gift it is of preaching to children." 
Preachers Magazine" Very bright and very fresh." 

British. Weekly." This writer is a true story-teller. These attractive addresses 
will be most acceptable to children and teachers." 

IN GOD S ORCHARD. Addresses to Children on 

"The Fruits of the Spirit," "The Beatitudes," "The Lord s 
Prayer," " The Best Things," etc. By the Rev. JAMES LEAR- 
MOUNT, Author of " Fifty-two Addresses to Young Folk," " Fifty- 
two Sundays with the Children," " Thirty Chats to Young Folk," 
etc. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 250 pages, 53. net. 
Mr Learmount has made for himself a distinct reputation as a very 
happy and successful speaker to children. This new volume of his, 
containing as it does four complete series of addresses on subjects of 
eternal interest, is likely to still further add merit to his previous reputation, 
Dundee Advertiser." It will be welcomed by Ministers, Sunday School Teachers, 
Superintendent!, Boys Brigade Workers, and the Mother at home with the li 


GOD S OUT-OF-DOORS. Fifty-two Talks on Nature 
Topics. By the Rev. JAMES LEARMOUNT, Author of " Fifty-two 
Sundays with the Children," "In God s Orchard," etc. Hand 
some cloth, crown 8vo, 55. net. 

London Quarterly Review." This is the writer s fifth volume. Its texts are 
found in the crocus, the cuckoo, wasps, snails, and other natural objects. Ihe 
papers are brief but full of lite and spirit. Just what a child would enjoy. 

Preachers Mag-atine." As fresh and stimulating as ever. 

THEIR WEDDING DAY, and other Stories. By 
ADELAIDE M. CAMERON. Handsome cloth, cr. 8vo, as. 6d. net. 

These stories will be found very useful to Mothers Meetings, Working 
Parties etc Many of them are true stories of events which have come under 
the author s notice. Each told in a most winsome and engaging manner. 

Church Times." Just the thing for Mothers Meetings ; will be enjoyed for their 
insight into human nature." 

H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C 

BIBLE OCCUPATIONS. Addresses to Young 

People. By the Rev. GKORGK SINCLAIR, Glasgow. Hand 
some cloth, crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. net 

Thit book may be described as an exceedingly able volume ihowing how interets- 
ing and attractive real Bible studies can be made. Starting out with an intro 
ductory address on "What is thine Occupation T" Mr Sinclair steadily takes the 
children through the Bible industries as exemplified by " A Gardener," " A 
Shepherd," "A Farmer," "A Musician," "A Smith," "A Nurse," "A Steward," 
A Potter," etc. In all, sixteen delightful chapters. 


THE MAGIC PEN. Stories for Children. By 

EDWARD W. LEWIS, M. A., Author of "The Invisible Companion," 
etc. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 33. 6d. net ; by post, 35. lod. 
These thirty-two stories are now published for the first time in volume form. 
Speakers to children will find in them much very useful and strikingly interesting 
material for addresses. Children themselves will greatly enjoy Mr Lewis s itudy 
folk and his adventures with them. One of the freshest volumes the publishers have 
met with for some years. 



Twenty-six Week-night Addresses. By J. H. JOWETT, M.A., 
D.D. Crown 8vo, 55. net. Seventh Edition. 

British Weekly. " Mr Jowett s religious addresses need no recommendation. 
We knew what to expect, and we are not disappointed. As of Dr Maclaren, so of 
Mr Jowett, it may be said that whenever he treats any religious theme, he invariably 
sheds fresh light on some passage of Scripture. In a sentence is the sure seed of a 

Glasgow Herald. "Full of life all through, they serve to explain the speaker s 
rapidly acquired reputation, and to justify the wisdom of the congregation which 
chose him to occupy the pulpit of the late Dr Dale." 

Baptiit Times. " Many of the addresses might profitably be extended into 
long sermons." 


Rev. J. II. JOWETT. A further selection of Twenty-six Addresses 
delivered at Carr s Lane. Crown 8vo, 53. net. Fourth Edition. 
Independent (New York). " To read this volume is to understand why the week- 
night meeting at Carr s Lane is one of the most successful in England. Mr Jowett 
gives his people of his best his best in thought, observation, and reading." 



Small crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net ; by post, 2s. gd. 

Rev. H. R. GAMBLE writes: "I have been reading the book and find a great 
deal of beauty and tenderness in the thoughts which it contains." 

Rev. W. R. INGK, D.D., writes:" I have now read the little book Behind the 
Blinds. I think it contains a great deal of good matter." 



24mo, 416 pages, paste grain, gilt edges, 7s. 6d. net ; Rexine gilt 

edges, 55. net. 

A reprint of this fragrant work of devotion, now for the first time printed 
on India paper, uniform with " Great Souls at Prayer." The size of this 
choice edition is only 5^ x si by \ inch in thickness. 


H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C. 



Thirty-one Sermons, Advent to Lent. Handsome cloth, crown 
8vo, 35:. 6d. net each. 

Thi Church Times." We can never have too much of Dr Neale. Gladly, there 
fore, do we welcome a reprint of the Sackville College Sermons. The great preacher 
teems at last to be attaining his rightful and assured place. There is perhaps no 
preacher of the pan century whom the younger clergy would be better advised to 
take for their model. Neale is never old-fashioned, for it is the eternal truth of God 
that he has ever to tell us." 


MENT. Twenty-two Sermons. By the late JOHN MASON 
NEALE, D.D. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 35. 6d. net. 

A fine new edition of this much-sought-for book, uniform with the new 
edition of " Sackville College Sermons." 


KNOX LITTLE. Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 356 pages, 35. 6d. 

This volume, previously entitled " Labour and Sorrow," contains some 
striking sermons by the popular Canon of Worcester : The Duty of 
Strength ; The End of Sorrow ; The Outlook of the Soul ; The Soul and 
the Unseen ; Love and Death, etc. 



By ALFRED W. MOMKKIE, M.A., LL.D., etc. Cloth, crown 
8vo, 3$. 6d. net. Forty-one Sermons altogether. [Fourth Edition. 

Expository Times. "A serious and strong contribution to a subject which 
apparently will never lose its interest while the world lasts." 

Literary World. " Dr Momerie s arguments are worth the study of all 
thoughtful persons. Even those who are not much given to serious reading 
will be struck by the vivacity of his styl and his easy maintenance of interest." 

Scottish Guardian." Possesses all the brilliant originality and gifts of expres 
sion that characterised his other discussions ef religion and philosophy." 



Preachers, Teachers, and Lay Workers. By Officers of the 
Church Army. Edited by Captain W. R. DAVEY. Handsome 
cloth, crown 8vo, 2s. net. [Second Edition. 

Some of the Contents of this practical book : Individual Dealing ; 
Positive Witnessing ; The Evangelist s Character and Aim ; Passion for 
Souls ; After Meetings ; In Search of Subjects ; Sick Visiting ; Cottage 
Meetings ; Effective Open-Air Services ; Work amongst Young Women 
and Girls ; Scouting ; Correct Breathing and Voice Production ; Equip 
ment for Service. 

Local Preachers Magazine. "Twenty weighty addresses of sterling value." 
Preachers Magazine. " Very practical and very much alive." 
Church Times. " The chapters deal with practical points in mission work, for 
th most part sensibly and shrewdly." 

H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C. 

Choice Books of Mysticism 


Handsome cloth, crown 8vo, 160 pages, 33. 6d. net. 

This delightfully expressed book on the interior life has long been out of 
print, and is now re-issued from the excellent translation by Miss A. W. 
Marston. It forms both a sequel and companion to the well-known 
" Short and Easy Method of Prayer." 



By MADAME GUYON. Paper, is. net ; cloth, is. 6d. 

Tht Guardian. "This convenient little reprint will be sur of a welcome from 
many to whom the name of the author is better known than her works. They will 
eagerly read what is taught about prayer by one who proved so often and through so- 
many hardships the reality of her inner experience." 


T. C. UPHAM, Author of "The Interior Life." With New 
Introduction by Rev. W. R. INGE, M.A. 516 pages, large 
crown 8vo, handsome cloth, 7 s - 6d. net. 
Mtthodist Recorder. " Her letters make the heart glow." 

Scotsmen. "Perhaps the most fascinating of all the spiritual autobiographies, 
this re-issue is all the more valuable for beinz brought in by m studious and 
ympathetic introduction from the pen of Mr W. R. Inge." 
Chvrch. Quarterly Rtview."A. most welcome reprint." 


AND TWENTY-FIVE SERMONS. Translated by Mis* 
and an Introductory Letter by Dr ALEXANDER WHYTE, of 
Edinburgh, 426 pages, large crown 8vo, handsome cloth, 
75. 6d. net. 

Glatgow HeraM. "Mr Allenson has conferred a service on all lovers of the 
mystics by this re-issue of an excellent work." 
British Weekly." Very handsome and convenient, the reprint is most welcome." 


the Deanery, St Paul s Cathedral, London, Editor of "A Little 
Book of Heavenly Wisdom." With Prefatory Letter by Dr 
ALEXANDER WHYTE, Edinburgh. Fcap. 8vo, cloth, is. 6d. net j 
by post, is. 8d. Paper, is. net ; by post, is. ad. 

Dr WHYTK. " This lecture will form an admirable introduction to the greatest 
and best of all studies." 

H. R. ALLENSON, Ltd., Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C.